Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Top Prospects: #18 – Barrett Barnes

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To recap the countdown so far:

20. Michael De La Cruz, OF
19. JaCoby Jones, OF

We continue the countdown with the number 18 prospect, Barrett Barnes.

Barrett Barnes has missed a lot of time in his career due to injuries. (Photo Credit: Tom Bragg)

Barrett Barnes has missed a lot of time the last two years due to injuries. (Photo Credit: Tom Bragg)

18. Barrett Barnes, OF

Barnes had a lot of upside when he was drafted. He was considered a toolsy player with quick hands, good power, and above-average speed. He can play center field, although his arm is below average and he profiles more as a corner outfielder in the future.

All of that is still the case with Barnes one year later. The problem he has seen is that he has been too injury prone in his short career. He hurt his leg in 2012 while playing with State College, and the injury caused him to miss the rest of the season. In 2013 he missed a lot of time with hamstring injuries. The injury caused him two short trips to the Disabled List in April and May. He went on the DL for a third time in late July, which ended his season.

Overall Barnes has been in the system for a year and a half, but has only received 308 at-bats due to the injuries. It’s hard to say if his numbers in 2013 were due to the lack of development, or due to the recurring hamstring problems. He didn’t hit for much power, plus saw a decline in his strikeouts, walks, and average.

Barnes still has a lot of potential, but he comes with the injury risk label. He’s going to need a full season of playing time to develop all of his tools and improve his game. If the injuries continue, that could end up derailing his career.

The Pirates have plenty of outfield prospects, so they’re not relying on Barnes. They can afford to take their time with his development, and that could mean that he could return to West Virginia in 2014 to make up for lost playing time.

Because of all of the outfield options, it’s possible that Barnes could be used as a trade chip in the future. He probably wouldn’t have a high value to teams right now, but even if he regains value he wouldn’t be in the mix for a starting job. The immediate future has Andrew McCutchen, Gregory Polanco, and Starling Marte as the starters in Pittsburgh. Long-term the Pirates have Austin Meadows, Josh Bell, and Harold Ramirez who all profile better than Barnes. It would be hard to see him ever fitting into the outfield mix in Pittsburgh.

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Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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