After being called up late last season, the former Beaver has had quite the first full season as a rookie.
In what started out to be a positional battle between Barney, Jeff Baker, and Blake Dewitt, Barney showed what he could do during spring training and won the position rightfully so.
In 2011, he has been moved all over the batting lineup. In the meantime, he has maintained a solid .290 batting average accompanied with 37 RBI and 56 runs. That .290 actually is the third-best batting average for an everyday player on the Cubs, just behind shortstop Starlin Castro's .306 and third baseman Aramis Ramirez's .311.
Barney has been a winner his whole career. At Oregon State, he compiled back-to-back NCAA Championships in 2006 and 2007. Not only did he win two NCAA Championships, but he also won the state championship in high school. One can only hope that his good luck will rub off on the Cubs in 2012.
But maybe he isn't just good luck. He has a 98 percent fielding percentage in 114 games played and the third-highest batting average on a team with one of the highest payrolls in the MLB.
Perhaps Darwin Barney is just that good. His rookie campaign just shows what he is capable of. I don't know if he will make the All-Star team, but when I call him an "All-Star," I merely mean the label of being called an All-Star.
He possesses the charisma and the potential to be a highly capable player for the Chicago Cubs in years to come—perhaps even a cornerstone of this rebuilding process.
The Cubs' dismal 2011 season will not have much good to show for it. However, they club just may have found its second baseman of the future.