Matt Barnes #33 – 2013 Top 100
Boston Red Sox
Date of Birth: June 17th, 1990(age 23)
Origin: 1st Round Pick(#19 overall) in 2011 out of the University of Connecticut
Jeff Reese: The University of Connecticut could be on the verge of producing three above-average major league baseball players. Mike Olt has seen time in the majors with the Rangers; George Springer continued to show off his impressive physical tools in the California & Texas Leagues; and Matt Barnes had a strong debut in the FSL after a five game warm-up against inferior competition in the SAL. Barnes made remarkable progress developing his fast arm into a legitimate power arm while in college and carried that success into pro ball. The fastball sits in the low to mid 90s with excellent late life that gives it swing and miss possibilities. Barnes’s power curve ball is his other major weapon with sharp 11-5 break and good depth that works well both in and out of the zone. The changeup has improved from the firm, rarely used offering in college but remains behind the other two. With solid fastball command that should continue to progress, Barnes has the makings of a future number two starter.
Al Skorupa: The talent at UConn in recent years, and the great job done by Jim Penders and his staff, has really been a pleasure to watch. They’ve got some more talented players on the way, too. While I don’t see him becoming any kind of star, fellow UConn alum Nick Ahmed has been better than most expected as a pro and was a not insignificant piece of the trade for Justin Upton. I really loved watching Matt Barnes pitch. He’s just a big, sturdy kid with a power arm and quality stuff. Its difficult to envision him being anything less than a good middle of the rotation type, but like Jeff I’m inclined to project him as a number 2 starter. Barnes lost the feel and shape of his curve ball in the spring of his Junior season, but the pitch has the potential to be a well above average offering. Barnes also distinguishes himself with command of his fastball, and that’s such a huge attribute to see in a young pitcher.
Evan Rentschler: Being a member of the Bullpen Banter family has many benefits, and Matt Barnes is a reminder to me of one of the most satisfying. Barnes had been a near consensus pick for best pitcher in the Cape Cod League in 2010, but heading into spring 2011 there wasn’t a decent frame of video until Al dropped his on us (by decent I mean his usual top-drawer production of course). To finally see Barnes was to be able to buy into the scouting reports fully; the durable build, easy plus FB, and erratic but biting curve were all on display.
Barnes profiles similarly to Matt Harvey for me. Both have ideal builds, effortless mid-90s heat, swing-and-miss breaking balls, change-ups that need work, and good-not-great command that may limit them to #2 starters at peak (though Barnes’ control is better than Harvey’s). Like Harvey, it wouldn’t be surprising in the slightest if Barnes reached the majors for good before he’d thrown his 250th minor league inning. The last couple of years have been a drag for Sox Nation — I’ll ignore my schadenfreude’s whispered exhortation to mock sob “Boo hoo!” — but Barnes leads a quartet of elite talents which includes Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, and Allen Webster who are on the verge of reloading the major league club.
Fantasy Outlook by Jeff Reese
If Barnes comes close to his upside, he’ll be rosterable for fantasy purposes. The stuff will produce consistent strikeout totals and a solid ERA & WHIP should result. Pitching in the AL East is always a difficult task for a pitcher however and not hitting his projection would make him much more marginal.