Ronny Cedeno held down the shortstop position for the Pirates last season, appearing in 128 games. Despite some mental lapses and odd plays, Ronny wasn’t too bad as the starting shortstop. However, the Pirates declined his option in the offseason and brought in veteran Clint Barmes for a two-year deal. Barmes, who played under manager Clint Hurdle in Colorado, was considered an upgrade to Cedeno. But Barmes hasn’t played to the expectations of Pirates fans so far this season. Here’s a breakdown of the two shortstops in their time with the Bucs.
Last season, Ronny Cedeno hit .249 with 2 HR and 32 RBI. His power was down from 2010, which was his first full season with the Bucs.
In his first 34 games as a Pirate, Clint Barmes has hit .160 with 2 HR and 6 RBI. His batting average is horrible and his OBP is an abysmal .189.
In just one-fourth the plate appearances Cedeno had in 2011, Barmes has already matched the home run total. Barmes has always produced decent pop as a shortstop, but was aided by the hitter-friendly ballparks of Coors Field and Minute Maid Park. PNC Park, which is much friendlier to pitchers, has kept some of his fly balls out of the stands. Although he is pretty much guaranteed to surpass Cedeno’s power totals, Barmes still needs to provide some pop at the bottom of the order.
Cedeno had an OBP of .297, which is considered poor. However, Clint Barmes has produced just a .189 OBP which is downright terrible. Barmes, like much of the Pirates lineup, is really struggling to get on base. Clint’s BB% is just 0.09%, which is absolutely awful. He swings and misses at about 15% of pitches and swings at 50% of the pitches that are outside of the strike zone. As for Ronny, he had a BB% of 6.60%, which is still below average. Cedeno swung and missed at 8.6% of pitches and 36.3% of pitches out of the strike zone last year, which isn’t great but a lot better than Barmes.
Both players strike out at alarming rates. Cedeno’s K% last year was 20.5%; Barmes’ K% this year is 25.7%. Both these values are considered “awful” on FanGraphs. Although neither player is given many opportunities out of the 8-hole, it’s still never good to strike out with such consistency.
From a defensive perspective, Cedeno committed 13 errors last season and had a fielding percentage of .978. Barmes, who has been solid defensively in his career and was considered a strong defensive upgrade, has already committed 6 errors and has a fielding percentage of .951. However, he has looked solid as of late. Hopefully he can continue to solidify his defense as the season goes on and bring up his FP.
Until Clint Barmes brings up AVG/OBP and produces more offensively, he’ll continue to be loathed by Pirates fans. As of now, it’s looking like another failed offseason signing by general manager Neal Huntington. Barmes’ contract is for two seasons, and it doesn’t seem like he has too much trade value, unless a team is in dire need of a shortstop. In the farm system, there aren’t too many SS options. Chase d’Arnaud, who saw time in Pittsburgh last season, is still in Triple-A Indianapolis. d’Arnaud wasn’t terrible last season, but he wasn’t very consistent. Still, he’s a very speedy player that can provide an offensive spark with his wheels. However, Barmes will continue to get the nod for the Pirates in the near future.