Barney and Ojeda in Battle for Cubs Backup Infielder Spot
Most of the Cubs position players are just trying to get some at-bats during Cactus League games and aren't too concerned about their averages.
But the candidates for the two reserve roles will have to prove themselves with every game.
Darwin Barney and Augie Ojeda are the two main possibilities for back-up infielder because they're the only ones who can play shortstop, with Bobby Scales competing as a long shot. Reed Johnson and Fernando Perez will be the top contenders for the fifth outfielder vacancy, though Brad Snyder and first-round pick Brett Jackson have outside shots.
Manager Mike Quade knows some candidates better than others. He managed Ojeda at Triple-A Iowa, and said "when it comes to defense, you don't find much better." Barney got a chance to play during Quade's 37-game managerial audition with the Cubs and hit .241 in 30 games after finishing with a .299 average at Iowa.
Re: Barney and Ojeda in Battle for Cubs Backup Infielder Spot
I don't see much point in having a backup infielder that is all glove and no bat. You're better off carrying someone who is actually useful as a pinch-hitter and isn't a complete butcher at short. DeWitt played 8 innings of SS with the Dodgers in 2009 with no errors. I'd be curious to see if having him play SS when Castro has the day off might work.
Ojeda is .234 with 7 homers in over 1000 career AB. Barney might not be much better (only 10 career minor league HR in over 1500 AB) but still could end up batting 30 or 40 points better than Ojeda, which doesn't say much. However, comparing both major and minor league stats Ojeda consistently has a better OBP than Barney even with a worse BA. Ojeda knows how to take a walk.
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