5. Brandon Barriera- A (Previous Rank: 6)
19 y.o / LHP / SP
Barriera's first pro season was injury-plagued. He first went down with elbow soreness and then came back in July before being shut down with bicep soreness. Speculation followed that part of his injury woes stemmed from a significant physique change. Per recent reports and looks, he has worked hard to improve his conditioning. The assumption is he will report to camp healthy and raring to go and it would be hasty to give up on a 1st round talent who is still just 19. As far as performance goes, Barriera looked quite good in 2023. He was capable of dominating lower minor hitters with his sweeping slider alone which flashed double-plus with huge sweep and sharp bite. His two-seamer was only 93 MPH but it got above average swing and miss and did an amazing job generating weak contact and groundballs. Barriera's overall groundball rate is one of the highest in all of minor league baseball. He's largely a two-pitch pitcher right now but his changeup has shown enough promise to take on a bigger role as he faces better hitters. Barriera's control was fringe average which isn't unusual in a young pitcher dealing with injuries throughout the year. His command of his fastball and slider specifically was closer to average and he's still projecting to be an average strike thrower. It'll likely be a slow climb for Barriera but he has plenty of upside especially if he shows up to Dunedin throwing 96 MPH (not out of the question given his high school velocity).