JOHNNY BARBATO, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: July 11, 1992
Drafted: 6th Round, 184th overall pick, 2010 (Padres)
How Acquired: Trade (from Yankees for PTBNL or cash)
High School: Felix Varela HS (Miami, FL)
Agent: The Legacy Agency
WTM’S PLAYER PROFILE
|Originally drafted by the Padres back in the days of large, above-slot bonuses, Barbato got $1.4M to sign out of prep school. At the time, he had a fastball that sat at 89-92, along with a change and curve. He quickly moved to the bullpen, partly due to issues about his mechanics. His velocity bumped up to the mid-90s — he averaged 95.6 mph in the majors in 2015 and 94.3 in 2017 — and he now throws a slider and curve. He’s been tougher on right-handed hitters in the minors. He was a groundball pitcher during his major league stint, but hasn’t been one in the minors and wasn’t in the majors in 2017. The Padres traded him to the Yankees and, after New York designated him for assignment, the Pirates acquired him for a player to be named later or cash.
After signing too late to play the previous year, Barbato went to the short-season Northwest League, which is a fairly challenging initial assignment for a prep draftee. The Padres used him primarily as a starter and he struggled some, especially with his control.
Barbato moved to the bullpen in low A and got very good results, increasing his velocity and dominating the league. Opponents managed only a .568 OPS against him. After the season, Baseball America rated him the Padres’ 30th best prospect, a ranking he held the following two years as well.
Barbato spent most of the season as a reliever in the high-offense California League, but moved to the rotation for the last month, making seven starts. He had a much tougher time, with opponents posting a .768 OPS against him, some of which was probably due to the league. He was better as a reliever, but not dramatically so. His walk and K rates, at least, were good.
Moving back to relief full-time, Barbato had a much better season in AA, at least until mid-June, when he went out for the season with an elbow injury. Up until that point, he held opponents to a .615 OPS. After the season, the Padres traded him to the Yankees for Shawn Kelley.
The Yankees sent Barbato back to AA, where he struggled in May and especially June. He started pitching well again in July and got a promotion to AAA in mid-month. He dominated in AA, albeit with a slightly high walk rate. The Yankees added him to their 40-man roster after the season.
Barbato opened the season and had a rough time there, at least ERA-wise. His other numbers weren’t bad at all, though; he was hurt by a somewhat high BABIP of .333, an extremely low strand rate of 52.3%, and a very high ratio of HRs to flyballs of 20%. His walk rate was decent and his K rate excellent. The Yankees sent him down in May and he pitched well, without quite dominating, in AAA. He made one appearance with the Yankees late in the season and gave up three runs without recording an out, which obviously hurt his ERA quite a bit.
The Yankees sent Barbato to AAA and he made one appearance there, a start, before being designated for assignment to make room for Jordan Montgomery. The Pirates acquired him a few days later. They initially sent him to Indianapolis, but called him up about a week later and he spent about six weeks in the majors before returning to AAA in mid-June. The Pirates called him up again for about a week in late August, then brought him back a final time after Indianapolis was eliminated from the playoffs. In all, he made 24 appearances in the majors and 26 for Indy, including two spot starts. Barbato pitched reasonably well in AAA without dominating; his xFIP there was 3.88. He did not pitch well in the majors, partly due to control problems; his xFIP with the Pirates was 5.76. He was not a groundball pitcher with the Pirates, with a 37.9% groundball rate. He had a huge platoon split, probably reflecting the fact that his slider was a much more effective pitch than his fastball. Left-handed hitters hammered him for a .941 OPS, while right-handed hitters managed only .557.
Barbato didn’t show much in his opportunities with the Pirates, but he’s had good K rates in AAA. He also has an option left, so he could be useful as AAA depth. The Pirates’ interest in him seems to lie in the idea that he can pitch multiple innings; they’ve become increasingly obsessed in recent years with having many long relievers available.
UPDATE: The Pirates designated Barbato for assignment when they claimed Shane Carle off waivers in early 2018.
|2018: Minor league contract
2017: Major league minimum
|Signing Bonus: $1,400,000
MiLB Debut: 2011
MLB Debut: 4/5/2016
MiLB FA Eligible: 2018
MLB FA Eligible: 2022
Rule 5 Eligible: 2018
Added to 40-Man: 11/20/15 (since removed)
Options Remaining: 1 (USED: 2016, 2017)
MLB Service Time: 0.113
|June 7, 2010: Drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 6th round, 184th overall pick; signed on August 16.
December 29, 2014: Traded by the San Diego Padres to the New York Yankees for Shawn Kelley.
November 20, 2015: Contract purchased by the New York Yankees.
April 12, 2017: Designated for assignment by the New York Yankees.
April 17, 2017: Traded by the New York Yankees to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a player to be named later or cash; Matt Frawley designated as player to be named later on June 14.
January 4, 2018: Designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates.