Chicago Cubs: Greatest players of the decade – #30-21

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Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs: No. 30: Darwin Barney

Darwin Barney is a player who benefitted from our increased emphasis on defense and on analytics in recent years. Though he made some contributions with the bat, it was with his defense that he provided the most value for the Chicago Cubs.

Barney debuted with the Cubs in 2010 and got into 30 games. Though he didn’t impress with the bat – his OPS was a sluggish .585 – he showed a lot on defense and earned a 0.6 defensive WAR. The next year, Barney would get a lot more playing time, appearing in 143 games. He continued to play good defense and got his OPS up to .666 while driving in 43 runs. That was good enough for him to place seventh in NL Rookie of the Year voting.

Barney’s biggest season came in 2012. Again, he contributed some with the bat, driving in 44 runs in 156 games. But on defense, the slick-fielding infielder posted an incredible 3.6 WAR, and he tied a Major League Baseball record by going 141 consecutive games without an error committed.

Barney was a mainstay during the rough years of the early Theo Epstein era. He had a rough year at the plate in 2013 but still played good defense and in 2014 the Cubs traded Barney to the Los Angeles Dodgers midway through the season. Barney also played for the Toronto Blue Jays before last appearing in the majors in 2017.