Boston Red Sox 2021 Player Preview: 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 Red Sox player each day to get you ready for the 2021 season.

Today's featured player: Matt Barnes 

Photo courtesy of: AP 

The former UConn Huskie enters his eighth season in Boston with a lot to prove after posting his highest ERA (4.30) since 2015 last year.  Barnes appeared in 24 games in 2020 and struck out 31 batters in 23 innings.  He went 1-3 and also finished with a team-high nine saves. 

Back of the baseball card:

  • Position: Pitcher  
  • Age: 30
  • Bats: Right / Throws: Right
  • Height: 6-4 / Weight: 208 lbs.
  • Nickname: Barnicles 
  • How acquired: Drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft.  Barnes was taken 19th in the first round.  
  • Contract status: Signed through 2021
2020 Highlights: 
  • Through 11 appearances in the month of September, Barnes only had two outings in which he gave up an earned run.  He pitched ten innings and finished the last month of the season with a 2.70 ERA. 
  • The Red Sox ended up winning 15 of the 23 games in which Barnes made an appearance. 
  • His best outing coming out of the bullpen came on Aug. 19, 2020 against the Phillies.  Barnes went 1 2/3 innings with three strikeouts and one walk.  He allowed no runs and no hits. 
Player Outlook:

Barnes has always shown flashes of what he could be if he hits his full potential, and he has put together a few really strong seasons as a member of a Red Sox bullpen that is anything but consistent. 

From 2017 to 2019, Barnes kept his ERA under 3.00 and was a strikeout machine in 2019, fanning 110 hitters in just 64 1/3 innings of work.  You would have to assume this is the version of Matt Barnes that the Red Sox coaching staff and front office wants to see every season, but he followed up his best season with one of his worst. 

Granted, 2020 was a season that was far from the norm with COVID-19 affecting every day and a 60-game slate.  Barnes has seemingly stepped into a closing role that has been a revolving door over the past couple of seasons.  Craig Kimbrel is surely a tough act to follow, but Barnes can serve as a solid closer if he can stay consistent once again. 


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Boston Sports Syndicate: Boston Red Sox 2021 Player Preview: Matt Barnes
Boston Red Sox 2021 Player Preview: Matt Barnes
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