18. Matt Barnes, SP, Boston Red Sox
Farrell: plenty of young SP to groom
The Red Sox decided to take Barnes with the 19th overall selection in the 2011 MLB Draft out of the University of Connecticut. He only has one season of professional experience, where he went a combined 7-5 with a 2.86 ERA and 133 strikeouts in 119 2/3 innings (25 starts) with Single-A Greenville and Salem. He was able to fan 10.0 per nine innings and walked only 2.2 per nine.
Barnes, who will turn 23 in June, has the size (6-foot-4, 205 pounds) to project as a top-of-the-rotation starter at the next level. His delivery and arm action are loose and easy, giving him the ability to locate all three of his pitches - fastball, curve and changeup - effectively within the strike zone. His fastball, which sits in the mid-90s, and curve have the ability to be plus pitches, and his developing changeup gives him high-K upside. He attacks hitters more often than not but has a tendency to elevate his pitches when he overthrows.
Unlike many other pitchers at low minor league levels, Barnes displayed impressive mound presence and poise as a pitcher, evidenced by his solid 2.2 BB/9 rate. He probably doesn't have much left to prove in Class A ball, so he's expected to begin at Class AA this year. Barnes' consistency stands out, and if he can perfect his repertoire with more minor league seasoning, he could be in the discussion to win a rotation spot in spring training of next year. Any pitcher that has plus-strikeout potential and doesn't hand out free passes often is a welcome addition to any fantasy baseball roster. Keep an eye on this one.
On to No. 19
Top fantasy baseball prospects - AL 1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-20 | 21-25
Top fantasy baseball prospects - NL 1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-20 | 21-25
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
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