The Top 20 Cubs Prospects - #17 Darwin Barney
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Prospect #17 - Darwin Barney
Selected as the 127th overall pick in the 2007 draft, Barney is the first Cubs prospect on our list to have his own Wikipedia entry. (I'm betting he made it himself.) He also possesses a name that belongs in a piece of fiction about a mad scientist-type who fights crime from his secret garage, or something.
Barney was considered one of the best amateur baseball players in the state of Oregon before he went off to university - at, you guessed it, Oregon State - and upon being drafted in the 4th round he's gone on to hit the ball well in the minor leagues for Chicago.
In 603 minor league at bats so far, Barney is batting .270 with an OBP of .332. He's hit 34 doubles, 7 triples, 5 homers, he's driven in 74 and stolen 13. In other words, he's not been the slightest bit flashy, but if he can play consistently then he just might have a crack at being a Theriot-Eckstein type. You know, a backup.
Barney brings the following assets to his game:
- Plus defense. He's very good with a glove at shortstop. It's almost surprising that the Cubs haven't begun splitting his time with second and third if only to make him a little more versatile.
- Slightly above average speed and patience. In 123 games in 2008, Barney walked 38 times and struck out 58 times - not exactly Ted Williams territory, but better than many Cub prospects.
- Good contact. Even though he doesn't have a head-turning batting average in the minors, Barney is able to put the bat on the ball more often than not.
- A really cool name. Everybody knows that having a cool name won't get you into the Hall of Fame, but it sure as hell doesn't hurt.
Odds of reaching the Majors = the average Cub fan successfully booking a reservation at the French Laundry.
Odds of becoming a successful player at the Major League Level = about the same as that of a tiny steam engine trying to pull an overweight haul up a steep mountain side. If he just has enough heart, he just might be able to pull it off!
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