Sure, Brandon Phillips can do some ridiculous things with a Wilson A2K covering his left hand. But for him to insist he was the premier defensive second sacker in the National League in 2012 is...wrong.
[RELATED: Phillips still not over losing Gold Glove to Barney]
Darwin Barney was clearly the best. First, I'll bombard you with fielding metrics.
Barney's ranks among Major League second basemen:
dWAR (Baseball-Reference.com): 3.6 (Rank: 1st)
UZR (Fangraphs): 13.1 (Rank: 1st)
DRS (Baseball Info Solutions): 28 (Rank: 1st)
FRAA (Baseball Prospectus): 11.3 (Rank: 3rd)
That right there should tell you all you need to know. But let's take a look at the other thing Barney had going for him in 2012: His errorless streak.
[MORE: Who did Barney pick to go all the way in the NCAA bracket?]
Barney had a streak of 141 games without an error at second base (he had one at short during the streak, which doesn't count), which tied Placido Polanco's single season record (in my opinion, single season streak records are silly; the maximum attainable streak is almost always 162), and set a new NL record for total games in a row without an error (which I find far more significant). He broke Ryne Sandberg’s former record 123-game errorless streak – allowing for multiple seasons – which spanned from June 21, 1989 to May 17, 1990 (this also matters).
[RELATED: What a difference a year makes for Javier Baez]
Barney's streak wasn't cheap. While some players have tended to avoid attempting the difficult plays during an errorless streak, the Cubs second baseman still made highlight reel stops and throws along the way. The two errors which served the bookends of his magnificent streak were the only two errors at second he committed all season.
And with that, I present Barney's 2012 by the numbers:
141 -- Consecutive games at second by Darwin Barney without an error in the 2012 season
78 -- Different second basemen who committed errors during the streak
329 -- Number of errors made by those 78 second basemen during the streak
16 -- Errors made by both Ian Kinsler and Omar Infante during the streak (most of any second basemen)
15 -- Second basemen who made exactly two errors in a game during the 2012 season, equaling in one game Barney's season total
3 -- Errors made in just seven innings at second base by Jimmy Paredes of the Astros on September 11th...ironically against the Cubs
Will Barney do this every year? Highly doubtful, but he certainly established himself as an important part of the Cubs future in 2012, and yes, he absolutely deserved his Gold Glove award.