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DOB: 6/17/1990 (Age: 22)
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 205
Drafted/Signed: First round (19th overall), 2011 (Connecticut)
2013 Stats: 1-1, 14.0 IP, 9.00 ERA, 2.143 WHIP, 10.9 K/9, 3.9 BB/9 (4 GS, Double-A Portland)
Barnes entered the 2011 season with high expectations, after being taken with Boston’s highest draft pick since 2003. He met and far exceeded those expectations.
Barnes began the year with a nearly perfect stint at low-A Greenville. In 26 2/3 innings, Barnes only surrendered 1 run, 12 hits, and 4 walks, while striking out 42 batters, good for a league-leading 14.18 K/9 rate. His 0.34 ERA was second only to pitching prodigy and 4th overall pick, Dylan Bundy. Barnes earned a quick promotion to high-A Salem, where he continued to put up quality numbers.
In his first full season, Barnes relied heavily on a deadly fastball-curveball combination. His fastball sits in the mid to upper 90s with good sink and nice late movement. Barnes commands his fastball extremely well. It grades out as a plus to better offering.
Barnes’ curve is a bit behind in development. He has good feel for the pitch, and it has flashed strong deception and tight rotation at times. However, it currently lacks consistency. The curve has plus potential, but it could take some time to get there.
Barnes’ development as a starter depends heavily on improvement of his third and fourth pitches. He’s currently trying to work in a changeup, which has shown above average potential, but it’s still in the development stages. Barnes rarely throws it. Developing his changeup is a crucial next step in his ascension through the system.
So far, Barnes has not looked all that exciting this year. Although his statistics are ugly, difficulties in the early going were expected for Barnes.
He leaned heavily on his fastball in his early career, but to retire hitters in Double-A and beyond, he will have to mix in his secondary pitches much more often. This is something Barnes is not yet used to. Some more growing pains should be expected in the next few weeks, so things will likely get worse before they get better for Barnes. But when all is said and done this year, Barnes will be a much stronger pitcher.