Darwin Barney's defense has been one of the few bright spots for the Chicago Cubs this season and is steadily approaching historical significance. In 112 games this season, Barney has committed only one error which occurred all the way back on April 17. That statistic is impressive in itself, but, as elaborated upon in a feature by Benjamin Hoffman of the New York Times, Barney's value to the Cubs goes much deeper.â†µ
His lack of errors have not been due to a lack of chances. Barney currently averages 5.23 plays per nine innings, .44 plays above the league average. Baseball Info Solutions, an all-encompassing baseball statistic company which has recorded every play since 2003, claims that Barney has blundered--a defensive mistake regardless of whether an error was recorded on the play or not--only 18 times this season. In Robinson Cano's record setting 2010 campaign in which he committed only three errors, he had 29 defensive mistakes. The company concluded that Barney's defense has saved 29 runs over an average replacement, a number which is only one shy of the season long record for a second baseman.
Total up every statistic and the result is an astoundingly high Wins Above Replacement (WAR). Barney ranks as the 9th most valuable position player in the majors. For someone batting only .265 with 35 RBIs and 54 runs, Barney has proved the significance of defense in the game of baseball.â†µ