Barrett Barnes Promoted to Altoona

The Pittsburgh Pirates have promoted outfielder Barrett Barnes from Bradenton to Altoona. Barnes was hitting for a .261/.359/.423 line in 234 at-bats with the Marauders this year, but the biggest story was that he was finally healthy. Prior to this year, Barnes had combined for 358 at-bats over parts of three seasons, due to various injuries that kept him off the field each year. He did have a minor injury that kept him out for about a week this year, but that was mostly a precaution. He also started the year a bit late due to another injury in Spring Training where the Pirates were proceeding with caution.

Watching Barnes play, it’s easy to see how the injuries have come about. He’s an all out player, diving all over the field and running hard and sliding hard on the bases. I won’t lie by saying I didn’t cringe every time he made a diving catch or aggressively ran for a double or a triple by finishing with a hard slide into the bag.

It’s also easy to see why the Pirates invested so much into Barnes. He’s got a ton of raw power, and that doesn’t always show up in the stat lines in the Florida State League. The league is very pitching friendly, not just due to big ballparks, but the very humid atmosphere every night at game time, which leads to thick air. There have been several shots by Barnes that I thought were hit hard enough off the bat to be home runs, but only went for doubles, triples, or fly outs to some of the deepest parts of the park. That said, his .162 ISO is very impressive when you consider that the FSL league average is .088. In fact, Barnes ranks eighth in the league in ISO among 103 hitters with 200+ plate appearances.

This is a move that the Pirates needed to make. Barnes is old for the high-A level, and didn’t have much to prove here. He has missed a few years of development with injuries, and should have already been in Altoona by now under a healthy timeline. He’s also Rule 5 eligible this off-season, and his raw power, advanced approach at the plate, and strong defensive abilities with the chance to play center field are all worthy of him being protected. The Pirates will now get a look at him in Altoona for about a month and a half before they need to make that decision on him in the off-season.

Jeff Roy was added from West Virginia. No word yet on a corresponding move from Altoona.

  • Bob Prince always brought up thick air this time of the season especially when we were playing in Cincinnati and St. Louis. I guess he knew what he was talking about or Tim is making this up.

  • peanutbutterguts
    July 22, 2015 5:09 pm

    Trade bait

  • I’m wondering who he will bump in the lineup ? Rojas Jr. possibly. I will know in a couple of hours.

    • Allow the Stetson Allie experiment to take a seat and get Barnes ready to help the big club. If he takes to AA well you could reasonably see him as a depth option with actual upside down the stretch next year.

      • BuccosFanStuckinMD
        July 22, 2015 5:55 pm

        I still don’t understand why they haven’t pulled the plug on Allie yet….200 hitter in AA indicates you don’t have a future in the majors…maybe not even in AAA.

        Same for Josh Smith – he was bad last year, worse this year. Release him and move someone up from Bradenton who is deserving…

        • As for Allie, I would guess that the Pirates are hoping he continues to hit for power while becoming more disciplined with his approach and pitch selection. He arguably has the most raw power in the system, not to mention the $2 million signing bonus that’s invested in him.

        • We are only talking about his fourth year as a hitter. I don’t think anyone should delude themselves into thinking he’s a future every day starter, and this season unquestionably has to be considered a disappointment after getting through the same level 24% above average last year, but I don’t see any reason not to keep him around in hopes of getting some platoon/pinch hit at bats out of him at some point. The A’s have found marginal value in guys like Nate Freiman over the years.

          You’re Mr. Promote Your Prospects, after all. 😉

  • Watched him earlier this year…was a head scratcher seeing him in Bradenton…guess they were just looking for the right time or situation. Would imagine he’d be gone in the 1st round of the Rule 5 if not protected.

  • Should we be reading between the lines with this?

    • Doubt it, just an opportunity to get him into a league that is more age appropriate – if he does well at Altoona, and then in the AFL this Fall, then he could be trade bait.

      Thanks Tim for dumbing down the ISO for those of us with limited knowledge of advanced metrics. The kid is having a great year.

      • Yeah, you’re probably right. The timing of it just seemed interesting like maybe Jose Osuna is part of a deal or something like that.

        • Would they ever send Osuna back to first if Bell were to move up?

          • I love that thought.

            • I don’t know if it was you I was talking to about this but really besides Bell – who the hell else do they have at first? The answer was Osuna who is presumably parked in LF because Bell is at first.

              • I guess they have guys that can learn first. It seems like most 1B’s are either former 3B, OF, or C just like most 2B’s are former SS or 3B.

  • Love, love, love, this move.

    • I do too, esp now that I can watch him when Altoona comes to Hbg.

      • BuccosFanStuckinMD
        July 22, 2015 5:53 pm

        leefoo…how close are you to Harrisburg? I am about 2 hours away and I’ve seen Altoona play in Harrisburg several times…when do they come to Harrisburg next?

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    July 22, 2015 3:16 pm

    I assume he was promoted, vs Ramirez or Meadows, was due to age…

    • No doubt. He was old for the high A level and it is time for the Pirates to see what they have. If he doesn’t do well at AA-which is a big jump for a hitter-then you probably don’t need to protect him and you can start him at AA next year and she what he does with a full season. If he excels at AA then you may have a valuable trade piece for the upcoming deadlines.

  • Interesting…not the best OF prospect in Bradenton.

    • He turns 24 next Weds so he is catching up. A nice performance in AA and AZL will have him in a much more reasonable place for his age.

  • piraterican21
    July 22, 2015 3:01 pm

    Stay healthy Barnes!