Monday, January 16, 2012

2012 Top Prospects #29: Danny Barnes

Name: Danny Barnes
Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Acquired: 35th round (2010)
Opening Day age: 22
Height/weight: 6’1”/195 lbs
Best/worst tool: Fastball/curveball
Risk factor: Low
ETA: 2013

Scouting Report

Danny Barnes does not fit the typical mold of a relief pitcher. Unlike most relievers who feature a fastball/breaking ball combination, Barnes has solid command of a starter-like four pitch repertoire. His primary offering is an above average low 90’s fastball capable of touching 94 mph. The pitch has some life, but it is more typical four-seam action than cut or run. Barnes also features a solid slider that clocks in the low 80’s, a pitch he uses effectively against right-handed batters. Against lefties, Barnes uses a greatly improved changeup that also sits in the low 80’s. The change still requires a lot of work, as his arm speed is still noticably slower than when he throws his fastball. His fourth pitch is a curveball, but it’s below average. With his only future being in the bullpen, Barnes should (and hopefully will) scrap the curveball and focus more on developing his other two offspeed pitches. There are some concerns about his delivery, but his bullpen role should alleviate some of those concerns.

2011 Statistics and Analysis

44 games (2 starts), 66.0 IP, 44 H, 17 ER, 3 HR, 20 BB, 99 K
5-1, 2.32 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 13.50 K/9, 4.95 K/BB, 0.81 GO/AO

In his debut 2010 season, Barnes struggled after arriving in Lansing. Getting a second chance in 2011, Barnes proved his issues were the result of fatigue (he threw almost 90 total innings between college and the minors in 2010) and not a lack of ability. His well developed arsenal and command allowed him to dominate the Midwest League, and helped him lead Toronto’s entire farm system in K/9 and strikeouts by a reliever. His success was consistent from April through August, as his monthly ERA never rose above 2.92 or below 1.46 –- a difficult task for relievers whose statistics can be skewed greatly by one poor performance. The most promising aspect of Barnes’ 2011 season was his ability to handle left-handed hitters after struggling against them in 2010 -– mostly attributable to the development of his changeup. In 28.2 innings against southpaws, Barnes had a 1.88 ERA with 47 strikeouts and only 9 walks, quickly transitioning his upside from right-handed specialist to late inning reliever.

Expected 2012 Assignment: High-A Dunedin

Future Outlook

With back-to-back successful seasons to start his professional career, Barnes could be fast tracked over the next two years allowing him to see the major leagues at some point in 2013. Barnes is more than ready to play in High-A, and should easily make it to Double-A New Hampshire before season’s end, barring an unforeseen injury or breakdown. As a four-year Princeton University graduate, Barnes is already 22 years old and it’s doubtful Toronto will hold him back too long should he continue to shred minor league batters.

Perfect World Projection: Late inning reliever

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