Red Sox Player Profile: Matt Barnes

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The Syndicate's Red Sox Writers and Red Sox Podcast to be Named Later Hosts will be profiling a different Sox player each day to get you ready for the 2020 season.  Today's featured player:

Matt Barnes


Photo courtesy of bostonglobe.com

Barnes followed his breakout 2018 season with another very strong performance and has become one of the few bright spots in Boston's bullpen.  The UConn product is likely to fill a role as the team's most important setup man or even as the eventual 2020 closer if Brandon Workman struggles in the role.


Info
  • Position(s): Relief Pitcher
  • 2020 Opening Day Age: 29
  • Throws: Right
  • Height/Weight: 6'4" / 210 pounds
  • Nickname: Barnacles
  • Acquired Via: 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft, 19th overall pick by Boston
  • Contract Status: Signed through 2020 (1 year, $3.1 M).  Arb eligible in 2022, Free agent in '23
  • 2019 Stats: 64.1 IP, 3.78 ERA, 1.383 WHIP,  15.4 K/9, 30 Holds+Saves, WAR 1.3
2019 Season

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Barnes was once again a key piece of the Red Sox pitching staff, notching 26 holds and achieving a quality sub-4 ERA for a third consecutive season.   His gameplan of 96 MPH fastballs up in the zone and curveballs perfectly dotting the bottom has proven itself to be legit.  The curve is clearly Barnes' best pitch as it provided a 41% whiff rate and held batters to a .183 batting average.  Another interesting note is that Barnes has almost completely phased out his splitter, as he threw only 26 such pitches in 2019.  

2019 Key Stat    

The 15.4 strikeouts per 9 innings that Barnes achieved was good for second-best of all qualified MLB relievers, behind only Brewers star Josh Hader (16.4). 

BSS Red Sox Podcast TBNL 2020 Outlook

The stuff in Barnes' repertoire is special and his strikeout potential keeps him a very valuable reliever.  Expect more of the same in 2020, as he has proven to be a consistent and trustworthy pitcher.  If we are to see a better Matt Barnes, he will need to get his WHIP down by improving control and giving away less free passes (5.32 walks per 9 innings).  He would also benefit from some good luck in the home run department, as Barnes gave up more dingers (1.12 HR/9) than he had in any season since 2015.  Fans can expect another season of a shaky at times but overall fantastic relief pitcher, as Barnes should live around a 3.60-3.80 ERA and continue to win our hearts with his beautiful curveballs and high heat.  



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Boston Sports Syndicate: Red Sox Player Profile: Matt Barnes
Red Sox Player Profile: Matt Barnes
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