We now live in a post-truth world, it seems. And so with every placement of a Blue Jays player on the new 10-day Disabled List (what else did you think I was talking about?), there is skepticism. Could it simply be the dreaded “right arm shittiness” that has befallen this poor, overworked hurler? Is he just getting a much-needed 10 day break from action while he collects a Major League salary? Or is this, y’know, something we actually have to worry about?
It would seem to me that, for the most part, the Jays haven’t really abused the 10-day DL this season. Guys who’ve gone down generally — at least as far as I can recall, though I could be wrong (because I’m sure as hell not doing a research project on it) — haven’t bounced back healthy and ready to go 10 days later. J.P. Howell is a guy who jumps to mind as someone we suspected was just being sent away briefly, but whose absence has been actually rather lengthy — turns out his was a really bad case of left-arm shittiness!
So, with that in mind, and with the specificity of the injury named in the announcement of the latest Blue Jays pitcher to hit the shelf, I… uh… I don’t particularly like the sound of this:
#BlueJays place Danny Barnes on the DL. Matt Dermody recalled from Buffalo. Have to think it's a by-product of an overworked bullpen.
— Gregor Chisholm (@gregorMLB) July 25, 2017
Gregor says that he thinks this is a by-product of an overworked bullpen, but I don’t think that’s any sort of wink. I think Barnes’ shoulder is barking at him. And that kinda sucks! (Because I was totally hoping they could trade him *COUGH*).
No! It sucks because has had a really nice year, and genuinely emerged as a reliable bullpen option for the club. He’s piled 47 strikeouts in 43.2 innings (over 37 appearances), allowing 30 hits and walking just 14. His FIP hasn’t been as good as his ERA, and his strand rate (85.2%) and sparkling BABIP (.219) maybe suggest there’s enough good fortune in there to keep us from thinking he’s another Roberto Osuna or something like that, but he’s been pretty good!
He’s… uh… also been ridden hard an put away wet. To wit:
Danny Barnes was tied for 3rd on the team in terms of workload at the all star break. https://t.co/to2yTExLfe
— Mike Sonne (@DrMikeSonne) July 25, 2017
But back to the quality of his work, Barnes’ “context neutral wins” (WPA/LI) mark of 0.73 tells us he’s been pretty decent! That puts him in the top 40 of 163 relievers ranked by the metric at FanGraphs (explainer on WPA/LI here). And by cumulative RE24 (aka “run expectancy based on 24 base-out states,” i.e. “the change in run expectancy from the beginning of a player’s plate appearance to the end of it”), he’s been even better, ranking in the top 30 of those 163.
“Relievers enter into games and leave games with men on base frequently, so the standard rule book definition of runs allowed doesn’t always capture a reliever’s true performance,” FanGraphs’ explainer on RE24 says. “For example, if a reliever enters with the bases loaded and no outs, stranding the runners and allowing all three to score have the exact same impact on that reliever’s RA9 or ERA. When using RE24, stranding the runners is worth 2.282 RE24 and allowing them to score and then getting out of the inning is worth -0.72 RE24.”
He’s been pretty good in other, much simpler words. He could be a genuine contributor in next year’s bullpen! He could be the Liam Hendriks who gets moved out because he has term left for some crappy starter!
That is, unless his shoulder is fucked! Which… nobody is remotely saying it is. I don’t want to get too panicky about something based wholly on assumptions. You just don’t like to hear about a pitcher having shoulder problems, is all.
Oh shit, this doesn’t hurt the playoff chase, does it???