Austin Barnes Is the Jewel of This Trade by the Projections

The author — who’s already been alive for 35 years and will probably die pretty soon, relatively speaking — the author, despite his age, has never had occasion to describe one thing as the “jewel” of another thing. Like, even though I visited Croatia this past spring, for example, I was never once compelled to suggest that Diocletian’s Palace is the “jewel” of Split. And even though I live in New Hampshire, for other example, I’ve never felt so overcome by Winnipesaukee to pronounce it the “jewel” of that state’s Lakes Region.

Standing on what are probably the broad, masculine shoulders of Jared Cross and his Steamer projection system, however, it seems totally reasonable — so far as projected WAR for 2015 is concerned, at least — it seems reasonable to describe half-catcher, half-second-baseman Austin Barnes as the “jewel” of today’s Dodgers-Marlins trade.

Regard, by way of illustration, the current projections for all the hitters involved in the deal (prorated to 550 PA, 415 PA for catchers):

Name Age Pos PA AVG OBP SLG wRC+ WAR
Austin Barnes 25 C/2B 415 .251 .318 .365 92 1.8
Enrique Hernandez 23 2B/OF 550 .251 .303 .373 89 1.0
Dee Gordon 27 2B 550 .256 .307 .331 83 1.0

And continue regarding all these projections for the pitchers (prorate to 150 IP for starters, 50 IP for relievers):

Name Age Hand IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 FIP WAR
Andrew Heaney 24 LHP 150 7.3 3.1 0.9 3.93 1.4
Dan Haren 34 RHP 150 6.9 1.9 1.3 4.10 0.8
Chris Hatcher 30 RHP 50 8.4 2.8 0.7 3.36 0.2

What one finds is that, as Jeff Sullivan has noted earlier this evening, that Dee Gordon‘s 2015 Steamer projection isn’t appreciably better than Derek Dietrich‘s or Enrique Hernandez’s — i.e. the two players most likely to have played second base for Miami in 2015. What else one finds is that Austin Barnes, a fixture among this past season’s Fringe Five series, is projected to produce the highest WAR figure in 2015 of the six players involved in the deal.

Nor is this a product merely of a generous positional adjustment. Projected as a catcher, Barnes receives +9 defensive runs in 415 plate appearances. Projected as a second baseman, he’d receive fewer defensive runs, but prorated to a larger sample — giving him something like a 1.6 WAR over 550 plate appearances. Slightly less impressive, that figure, but still the highest among the six players in question.





Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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