The Pirates have promoted right-handed pitcher Yhonathan Barrios to Indianapolis, Pirates Prospects has learned. Barrios had a 1.46 ERA in 24.2 innings, with a 12:9 K/BB ratio in Altoona this year. He was working as their closer, converting 10 of 11 save opportunities.

The back story with Barrios is interesting. He was signed for $250,000 in 2008, which was the first year Neal Huntington took over, and thus, the first year the Pirates really started investing in Latin America. As a result, he was one of the biggest bonuses in Pirates’ history at the time. The interesting thing is that he was signed as a shortstop with a lot of raw power potential. That never worked out, and he was completely overmatched at the plate, so the Pirates converted him to the mound in 2013.

I saw him in the GCL that season, and he was sitting mid-90s and hitting 98-99 with ease. He was impressive enough that he broke into our top 50 solely on his stuff that year. He has carried that velocity over to both levels of A-ball last year, and now Double-A. He also showed some potential¬†with a slider, although it’s not a great out pitch at the moment. He also has a good feel for a changeup, which is his best off-speed offering. If he can develop a good out pitch, he could be a late inning reliever in the majors one day.

No word on a corresponding move from Indianapolis. Yesterday we announced that Brett McKinney was moved up to Altoona, so that’s likely going to be the move there.

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  1. That’s a pretty low K/9 for a guy who throws that hard. Does he get a lot of ground balls or pop-ups or something to keep the ERA down despite the lack of Ks?

    Definitely an intriguing guy, though, given that heat. I hope he develops that slider, because he could be very Arquimedes Caminero in the future with the heat, the slider, and the change, especially since the BB/9 is fairly reasonable for a hard-throwing reliever.

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