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.