2011 Projecton: Will Clint Barmes Rediscover His Old Form In Houston?

Barmes has been involved in the Rockies rotating door at second base the past few seasons.  He’s had the opportunity to claim it as his own on many occasions, though after his 2005 breakout campaign (.289, 10 HR, 46 RBI, 55 R in 350 AB) was cut short due to a freak injury, he has never quite regained his form.

Yes, he did hit 23 HR in 2009, but it came courtesy of a .245 average.  Now, having been traded to the Astros in the offseason in exchange for Felipe Paulino, Barmes has a chance to rebuild his value for fantasy owners.

He’s coming off a subpar season:

387 At Bats
.235 Batting Average (91 Hits)
8 Home Runs
50 RBI
43 Runs
3 Stolen Bases
.305 On Base Percentage
.351 Slugging Percentage
.263 Batting Average on Balls in Play

The average continued to struggle thanks to a below average BABIP.  Over the past two years he has posted BABIP of .271 and .263.  That really is the only reason that his average struggled, as he did not strikeout an exorbitant amount of the time (17.1% in ’10 vs. 17.3% for his career).

It is easy to say that he should post a luckier number at some point, but an inflated fly ball rate does not make that a certainty.  He has a career fly ball rate of 47.7%, but has been above that each of the past three seasons:

  • 2008 – 48.9%
  • 2009 – 49.0%
  • 2010 – 48.9%

Inflated fly ball rates do not lend themselves to tremendous luck.  While it helps us to believe that his power is likely to rebound, especially in Minute Maid Park, from an average standpoint it is not a good thing.

The problem is, is the power really a lock?  Yes, he hit 23 HR in ’09, but it came courtesy of an 11.0% HR/FB.  For his career he’s at 6.8% and ’09 was actually the only season that he posted a mark above 7.7%.  Thinking that he’s going to hit 20+ HR would be a major mistake.

It all combines for a projection of:

.260 (117-450), 14 HR, 60 RBI, 60 R, 8 SB, .288 BABIP, .316 OBP, .420 SLG

Those are fine numbers, but they make him nothing more than a low-level middle infielder.  There is way too much risk involved in his average and no guarantee that his power comes anywhere close to his ’09 explosion.  There’s just nothing there to really hang your hat on.

What are your thoughts on Barmes?  Is he a player you would target in ’11?  Why or why not?

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Make sure to check out some of our 2011 projections:

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