August 28, 2013 at 5:38 PM
According to Brendan McGair of the Pawtucket Times, righthander Matt Barnes is in Pawtucket in advance of his upcoming promotion to Triple-A, though the team has yet to confirm the move or add him to the roster. This is likely the beginning of a slew of roster moves that occur every year around the expansion of major league rosters on September 1.
Barnes entered the year as the third-ranked player on the SoxProspects.com rankings after a dominant 2012 season split between Greenville and Salem. While at Greenville he was almost unhittable, allowing only one earned run and four walks while striking out 42 in five starts. The video game numbers did not continue once promoted to Salem, but he still put up very impressive stats: 3.58 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 91 strikeouts to only 25 walks over 93 innings. It was his plus fastball and the advanced command and control that allowed him to dominate at these lower levels, and his challenge in 2013 was to work on improving his secondary offerings against the advanced competition of Double-A.
Thus far this year the numbers have not been quite as impressive. After 20 starts his ERA sits at 4.33 to go along with a 1.46 WHIP, 135 strikeouts and 46 walks in 108 innings. Just looking at the stat line, it is obvious to see that Barnes has still been able to miss bats, but it is just as easy to see that he has struggled with his ability to throw strikes as the hitters' approach has improved at the more advanced level. This bump in the road -- along with the strong performances of several other prospects in the system -- caused Barnes to fall to eighth on the current SoxProspects.com rankings.
Despite the struggles, Barnes raw stuff still provides optimism and adjustment periods such as this are very common in the developmental path of most prospects. If he can continue to improve his curveball and changeup while re-tightening his fastball command and control then he still possesses the upside of a number three starter. According to McGair, that process begins on Thursday when Barnes is scheduled to make his PawSox debut.
Photo Credit: Matt Barnes by Kelly O'Connor
Will Woodward is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @SPWill.