JOSE BARRAZA, CATCHER
|Born: July 28, 1994
Height: 6′ 1″
Drafted: 7th Round, 231st Overall, 2012 (White Sox)
How Acquired: Minor League FA
High School: Sunnyside HS (Fresno, CA)
WTM’S PLAYER PROFILE
|Barraza was drafted in the seventh round out of high school due to the combination of raw power and a good arm that suggested he might be able to stay behind the plate. The White Sox handled him oddly, pushing him to advanced rookie ball to start his career, even though he was younger than most prep draftees. They then released him after just 74 pro games. He mostly hit well in two years of independent ball as well as in his last year with the Sox. He’s shown some power and a solid arm, but his receiving skills appear to need work and he’s had major strikeout problems. The Pirates signed Barraza to a minor league deal for 2017.
Surprisingly, the White Sox sent Barraza to the advanced rookie Appalachian League. That level has a lot of college draftees, which doesn’t seem appropriate for a prep draftee who was considered to be a project. He didn’t even turn 18 until just after the season started. Barraza obviously was overmatched there. Aside from the hitting struggles, he had trouble with passed balls, committing 17 in 27 games caught. He threw out 21% of base stealers.
Barraza missed the entire season with an unknown injury.
Still only 20, Barraza went to rookie ball and hit well, albeit with an alarming K rate. He continued to have trouble with passed balls, committing 24 in just 31 games caught. He threw out 32% of base stealers. Chicago nevertheless released him during spring training the following year.
Barraza signed with Lake Erie of the Frontier League and continued to hit well there, although still with a very high K rate. He split his time between catcher and first base, and made progress with the passed ball problem.
Back at Lake Erie, Barraza again split his time between first base and catcher. His hitting dropped off from the previous year.
The Pirates sent Barraza to Morgantown, where he shared first base with Lucas Tancas. He also served occasionally as DH and caught in four games. He showed some power and drew a lot of walks, but struck out at an extremely high rate. Possibly as a result, his playing time dwindled in the second half of the season. He hit LHPs a little better than he did RHPs.
Due to the power, Barraza may have a little more upside than the usual low-level, minor league free agent. Usually, when the Pirates sign a player to add low-level catching depth, it’s a good-glove, no-bat sort. He didn’t show enough in 2017, though, and he’s 23 now.
|2018: Minor League Contract|
|Signing Bonus: $146,300
MiLB Debut: 2012
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2020
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: 2018
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 5, 2012: Drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 7th round, 231st overall; signed on June 11.
March 19, 2015: Released by the Chicago White Sox.
December 24, 2016: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as a minor league free agent.