Just when you thought you couldn’t get a better RP prospect than # 42 Matt Daly, the Jays show you one that is just as promising or better in….
#41: Daniel Barnes
21 years old / 6’1″ 195 lbs
Born: October 21st 1989 in Manhasset NY
Bats Left Throws Right
High School Team: Manhasset High School
College: Princeton University
Drafted: by the Jays in the 35th rd, 1056th overall, of the ’10 First-Year Player Draft
Wears: #35 for the Lansing Lugnuts
- As a Senior in HS, Daniel posted an 8-1 record with 58 IP, a 0.80 ERA and 103 Ks.
- Daniel was moved to the pen during his freshman year at Princeton, but soon returned to starting again despite enjoying success as a reliever.
- Only pitched in 3 games in 2009 due to injury, missing out on a full year of progression as a result.
- The injury led to a slow start in 2010 and a few bad outings.
- When looking at his last start for Princeton, you can see some of his potential. Daniel threw 8 innings, allowed 5 hits, struck out 11 while walking none.
- Stated that his routine has changed tremendously since becoming a RP and that he enjoys knowing that he could pitch on any given day.
- Admires Roger Clemens more than any other pitcher due to his work ethic.
- Will be spending time in Princeton to finish off his degree during the off season.
Stats In the GCL and for LoA Lansing
Extra Information and previous experience:
- His career stats with the Tigers include a 5.02 ERA over 95 IP with 90 Ks and
Daniel Barnes does not scream top prospect. He doesn’t have a massive amount of data ton back up his potential and he does not have the usual pedigree of a top notch pitcher. He was chosen very late in the 2010 draft and knows just how hard the road will be to the majors. The one thing he has over anything else is about as dominant a season as you can get in the GCL and a newfound role in the pen that seems to suit his strengths most.
Before the draft took place, Daniel was supposed to play for the Petersburg Generals in 2010. The Petersburg Generals assistant coach Ryan Leary stated that:
"“The Generals are thrilled to have this young pitcher, Daniel Barnes, as part of our pitching staff. Barnes has a live fastball with great off speed pitches. He is a very talented pitcher who can pitch in the starting rotation or in relief”"
While it’s true that Daniel does have the potential to start because of his ability to throw many average offerings, his struggles versus lefties makes him an almost guaranteed reliever for the long term. The Jays recognized this right away and threw him into the role right away after signing him.
Daniel walked into the GCL, along with highly touted draftees Aaron Sanchez and Noah Syndergaard, and he beat them both in terms of dominating performance. He had by far the lowest ERA and Whip of any pitcher with more than 5 IP (aside from Shawn Hill who doesn’t really count due to his age and experience). That Daniel was able to go from pitching for Princeton to dominating the GCL as he did is extremely impressive. His 0.67 ERA and 0.81 Whip over 27 innings with 37 Ks and only 5 walks are outstanding stats that just can’t be overlooked. While he only had 1 save to show for his efforts, he did finish 3 games and also added 2 holds. Simply put, he was dominant.
He was so dominant in the GCL that the Jays decided to have him forego SS Auburn and sent him instead to LoA Lansing, his probable starting point for the 2011 season. To go from being drafted in the 35th rd to being promoted to LoA all in one small stretch must have been quite a thrill for him. He does mention in the interview above with Jesse that pitching in front of over 6,000 fans did take some getting used to.
With as many innings already under his belt when he made it to LoA as he had, from his games in the GCL and the time spent in Princeton added together, Daniel had already thrown 76 innings in 2010, more than double his previous high from 2008 and coming off a year that he took off due to injury. With that major issue made aware of, imagine the added thrill of his signing and promotion, all of the instructions from coaches, tweaking here and there, and what he mentions was an intimidating crowd to play in front of for the first time…that’s a recipe for some real troubles. But, Daniel continued to do very well in Lansing….versus RHB that is.
There were some issues with Daniel when he threw for Lansing and most of them had to do with LHB. While he threw a decent 6.1 innings vs RHB, getting a 1.42 ERA while allowing 1 ER on 7 hits and 1 walk while striking out 8, he also had a 12.46 ERA in 4.1 IP versus LHB due to 10 hits allowed and a whopping 7 walks to go with an impressive 8 Ks over so few innings. So, if the only black mark after a quick promotion is the fact that LHB hit him a little and drew too many walks, I’ll take it. It’s something he can work on and he obviously is doing enough to strike out quite a few LHB, showing that he can be effective once he works his issues out, gains confidence and throws more strikes.
To me, it seems obvious that Daniel got tired as the season drew to an end. During his last 10 outings, Daniel held a 5.91 ERA and had a .354 average against over that span. I fully expect that he’ll kick off the 2011 season with some real gusto and that his stats in LoA will improve as a result.
And just for the record, the great performance by Daniel Barnes was not out of nowhere. Baseball America stated that he could easily have been drafted in the top 10 rounds but that some scouts felt that buying him out of his last year at Princeton may not be worth it. They noted his lack of dominance there, but did compliment his heater and its life. Another critique was that his delivery was not repeated well, particularly his arm slot. But, I would hope that the pitching coaches helped him sort through those issues and tweaked his delivery enough to result in his dominance of the GCL hitters.
As for his arsenal of pitches, Barnes throws some decent heat that hits 93-94 MPH with lots of life, and he has added a more effective slider since he has become a Jay. His secondary stuff isn’t overly impressive, but his change up has made a lot of progress since he signed with the Jays, making his heater that much more effective. His better change is also partially responsible for his dominance in the GCL. His curve ball sits in the mid to high 70s and he doe state in his interview that he threw it more like a cutter than a curve at some points. If he can really develop a cutter and average to above-average change up, he could easily continue to dominate in the pen.
The development he does in 2011, particularly against LHB, will ultimately decide his fate. If he struggles against them, he could become a RHB specialist in the pen. If he can learn to be effective against them, he could profile as a closer.
The way I see his 2010 season is that he was coming off a lost injury riddled season, got his stuff together near the end of his College season, and took off like a rocket once drafted by the Jays. Will he ever come down to earth? Who knows, but I do know that while facing the same talent as 2 sandwich picks the Jays had, Daniel Barnes looked a whole lot more dominant than either of them. Having said that, we know the inherent risk of ranking a reliever too high, hence both Matt Daly and Daniel Barnes sitting here in the 40s, but we do love both relievers and their potential to move up the ranks very quickly. I personally like Barnes better because he was facing similar aged opponents, while Daly was a little old for HiA, and Barnes has a bigger frames. Still, if either one can develop into a viable closing option, they will supplement the pen side of what promises to be a very exciting Jays starting staff for years to come.
Expected 2011 Team: LoA Lansing
Ultimate ceiling if he puts it all together: Closer
That does it for this mini run on relief prospects. Now on to a position player next!