Barmes Getting His Swing Back After Working With Hurdle

Clint Barmes had the worst start to 2012 in his professional career, which has spanned over parts of eight seasons in the Majors. Every time Barmes stepped to the plate, he was aware of his batting average, which was well below the Mendoza line. He heard boo’s from his home crowd after every at-bat. After hitting for just a .170 clip, Barmes and Manager Clint Hurdle decided to take a step back from the game to work on his swing.

What fans didn’t see was all the extra work the shortstop put in off the field. And after reconnecting with his swing, Barmes has looked much better at the plate.

“I see his swing better,” Hurdle said. “I do see him getting his swing off. Hitting fastballs. Not chasing as much. Those were the big things that we wanted to address. He’s put a lot of hard work in. He deserves a lot of credit.”

Over eight games in June, Barmes is hitting .308/.308/.500. He’s hit a home run (his third of the season) while driving in seven RBI this month, which tied his total for April and May combined.

The adjustment that Barmes worked on was similar to what catcher Rod Barajas went through when he, too, dealt with struggles to start the season. Barmes hit .143 over 49 at-bats in April but since has bumped his season average to .239 after hitting over .300 in May.

Even though the Pirates promoted infield prospect Jordy Mercer to the bigs, the club didn’t give up on Barmes.

“When you make a deal like this over the winter, you’re not going to unplug the guy after five weeks,” Hurdle said. “You might try and find times to rearrange the furniture and try and get a guy in to get an at-bat, tread water for a little while. We believe in this guy. It takes courage to exhibit some patience and we’ve had to exhibit courage in a couple different places.”

What Barmes hasn’t done is taken his offensive struggles with him out on the field. He’s last error came on May 3, and his glove up the middle has helped the young players on both sides of him on the infield. Pittsburgh has been charged with nine errors in its last 24 games beginning with the action on May 15. The team’s .990 fielding percentage in that time ranks third in the Majors behind Arizona (.993) and the Chicago White Sox (.990).

“His defense definitely came before his offense,” Hurdle said. “The one thing about all of our guys that were challenged offensively, they separated the ball. None of them took their bats on the field — especially him. He knows the importance of his position.”

“He’s a very solid defender. He does it in a very unorthodox way. He’s a one handed fielder. Coming out of the box, I think in a number of different situations he was just trying to do a lot, to show everybody what a good deal we made over the winter and even defensively it got in the way a little bit. Anytime you have a one handed fielder that makes some miscues it looks worse. ‘Why didn’t he use two hands?’ Well, he hasn’t been doing it since he was six. It’s the way he does it. He’s steady. He’s solid. He’s got a slow heartbeat in the middle of the infield. He’s got a lot of experience. We believed all along he would make Pedro better. He’d make Neil better. I think we’re starting to see that fall into place now. He’s definitely won us some games with his glove.”

Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

Share This Article

Pirates Debating DH Decision; Clement an Option?

Next Story »

Exploring the Arsenal: Previewing the Orioles’ Probable Starting Pitchers

  • bixlerboy

    There is a shortstop that is currently available, who in was the MVP of all of AAA in 2007. If given a chance, Brian Bixler could far exceed Barmas statistically

    • Lee Young

      omg that is soooooooooooooooo wrong………lol

Latest Analysis

  • Keller Supak Hinsz

    Even With the New Draft Rules, the Pirates Are Still Loading Up on Projectable Pitchers

    1 day ago

    From 2008-2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates spent a lot of resources on projectable pitchers out of high school. So far, this approach has led to breakout performances from ...

    Read More
  • Josh Bell made the move to first base over the off-season. (Photo credit: David Hague)

    Why Should You Care About Prospects?

    3 days ago

    Yesterday I had a shorter day than usual. The Pirates had cuts at the MLB level, and a road game. The day was shortened at Pirate City, ...

    Read More
  • Gregory Polanco

    Q&A: Trading Prospects For Rentals, Polanco Concerns, Meadows vs Appel

    4 days ago

    I missed the Q&A last week due to a common problem in Spring Training: I forgot what day it was. It was around 6:00 that I was ...

    Read More
  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    5 days ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    7 days ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    1 week ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    1 week ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow 2

    What the Stats Don’t Tell You About Tyler Glasnow

    1 week ago

    The stat line for Tyler Glasnow’s start at Pirate City yesterday looked great: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run ...

    Read More
  • JaCoby Jones Josh Bell

    JaCoby Jones Did Fine in the Move to Shortstop, But Needs to Cut Down on Strikeouts

    2 weeks ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted JaCoby Jones as an outfielder in the third round of the 2013 draft, then surprised everyone the following year when they moved him ...

    Read More
  • Cody Dickson is a lefty with the upside of a middle of the rotation starter. (Photo Credit: Mark Olson)

    The Mental Adjustment that Led to Cody Dickson’s Dominant 2014 Second Half

    2 weeks ago

    Trusting his stuff and not trying to do too much — that has been the key for left-handed pitcher Cody Dickson so far in his professional baseball ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles