BARRETT BARNES, CORNER OUTFIELDER
|Born: July 29, 1991
Drafted: 1st (Supplemental) Round, 45th Overall, 2012
How Acquired: Draft
College: Texas Tech University
WTM’S PLAYER PROFILE
|The Pirates selected Barnes with the supplemental pick they received as compensation for Ryan Doumit. Baseball America rated Barnes the 41st best prospect in the draft. He was attractive as a player who could stick in center and who had very good power potential due to excellent bat speed. He may not hit for average, but is willing to take pitches and so could make up for a lower average with walks. The power could let him succeed as a corner outfielder, although it’d have to be left because he has a below average arm. He has good but not outstanding speed, but was a very efficient base stealer in college. His college stats show that he had his best year as a freshman, but it has to be remembered that the NCAA switched to less explosive metal bats after the 2010 season and many hitters saw their numbers reduced. The Pirates were widely reported to be looking for a hitter in round one, but had RHP Mark Appel fall to them unexpectedly. They evidently made up for it by selecting Barnes. He agreed to terms a week after the draft for a $1M bonus. That was $136,400 below slot.
Barnes got off to a slow start as the regular centerfielder for State College and didn’t have any extra base hits in June, when he posted a .583 OPS. In July, however, he hit 309/436/568. He suffered a stress fracture in his leg at the end of the month and missed the rest of the year. The injury is not expected to have long-term consequences. Baseball America rated Barnes as the 10th best prospect in the New York-Penn League.
Barnes’ 2013 was frustrating as he repeatedly ran into injury problems. He was limited by back stiffness in camp and he opened the season in extended spring training. He got into ten games in late April and the beginning of May, then went on the disabled list with a right hamstring injury. He returned in June, but in mid-July he went back on the DL for the rest of the season after straining the same hamstring. The last injury occurred just when Barnes appeared to be getting hot. He hit just 222/309/236 in his first 18 games and 297/358/505 in his last 28, including 343/410/543 in his last ten. The Pirates played him exclusively in center.
Barnes’ 2014 season was almost completely wiped out by injuries. He played in only 17 games, nearly half of them during a rehab stint in the GCL. The Pirates sent him back to West Virginia, but he injured a hamstring running to first in just his fourth games, two plays before Harold Ramirez did the exact same thing. Barnes wasn’t able to begin a rehab assignment for nearly three months. After that, the Pirates sent him to Bradenton. After just six games there, he went out with an oblique strain and didn’t return.
Barnes finally got in something approaching a full season, nearly doubling his career total with 95 games played. His only significant stretch of missed games was a stretch of close to three weeks starting in mid-April. He played for Bradenton until the Pirates moved him up to Altoona in late July. At both stops he played left field exclusively, showing solid range. He didn’t put up dominant numbers in high A, but it should be noted that the Florida State League is an extreme pitchers league that had an unusually low-offense year, even by its own standards, in 2015. Barnes’ slugging percentage was good enough for 12th in the league among all players with 137+ ABs. In the Eastern League, Barnes just held his own. At both stops he showed good plate discipline. He had a moderate platoon split, with an .814 OPS against LHPs and .735 against RHPs.
Barnes was eligible for the Rule 5 draft and wasn’t selected. The Pirates sent him back to Altoona and he finally put together a healthy season. For a while, it didn’t look it was going to be a successful one. He started the season in a 2-for-26 slump and, at the end of June, was hitting just 249/319/371. From July 1 on, though, he may have been the hottest hitter in the minors. He batted .404 in July. By the end of the month, he still had only one HR on the year, but he hit eight in August while slugging .709 for the month. Over the final two months, plus five September games, Barnes hit 370/438/594. His walk and K rates did both suffer, compared to the previous year. It’s possible, though, that he benefited from becoming more aggressive. On defense, Barnes played left exclusively for the second straight year.
Barnes’ spree at the end of 2016 didn’t get him added to the 40-man roster and he wasn’t selected in the Rule 5 draft. It’s possible teams were turned off in part by the injury history and Barnes’ 2017 season didn’t prove them wrong, as he missed nearly all the season with two hamstring injuries. Apart from a GCL rehab, he managed to get into just 31 games.
The Pirates no doubt will try Barnes again in 2018 at Indianapolis. It’s obviously hard to expect that he’ll be able to play much, but stranger things have happened. It’ll be his last year before free agency.
|2018: Minor league contract.
|Signing Bonus: $1,000,000
MiLB Debut: 2012
MiLB FA Eligible: 2018
MLB FA Eligible:
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man:
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 4, 2012: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1st (Supplemental) round, 45th overall pick; signed on June 15.|