Pittsburgh Pirates: Another Triple-A Outfielder to Watch


The Pittsburgh Pirates always have really solid outfield prospects across their minor league levels.  Currently, the group is led by top prospect Austin Meadows.  However, there is another Triple-A outfielder to watch this year.

In 2012, the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted outfielder Barrett Barnes with their Compensation A pick at number 45 overall. Barnes came into the draft as one of the fast-rising juniors, as he was the best hitter on Texas Tech. He actually ended up being the top pick for the Bucs, as first rounder Mark Appel opted to return to Stanford.  Barnes was considered a strong athlete, possessing raw power and plus speed.  Many questioned if he would be able to stick in centerfield due to his below average arm.  However, he was considered a player with upside and a good pick at number 45 overall.

Here is some of mlb.com’s scouting report on Barnes back in 2012. These scouting reports were written for the players, and then posted with them as they were drafted. Here is what they wrote:

"Before every Draft, college hitters who perform well move up boards late and end up being taken much sooner than many anticipated at the start of the spring. The more Barnes hit in 2012, the more his name was on the rise. Strong and athletic, Barnes is a little raw as a baseball player, but he has some offensive upside.More from Rum BunterPittsburgh Pirates Prospect Stockwatch: Outfielder Tres GonzalezPittsburgh Pirates Podcast: Rum Bunter Radio Talks Winter Meetings FalloutPittsburgh Pirates: Potential Leadoff Hitters in 2023Pittsburgh Pirates: The Rotation is not being ImprovedPittsburgh Pirates Make Vince Velasquez Signing Official"

The main issue with Barnes is the fact he has not been able to stay healthy through his minor league career.  Between his 2012, 2013, and 2014 seasons, Barnes played in a total of 101 games.  This disappointed many fans, as they looked at him as a high pick that was not panning out.  This feeling was validated by his poor results also.  In his 2013 and 2014 seasons, he hit for a combined batting average of .261.  Between and underwhelming batting average and inability to stay healthy, he became an afterthought for many fans.


Barnes finally put together a respectable amount of games in 2016.  He was able to play in 124 games this past year. This is by the most he has appeared in, and the first time he eclipsed the 100 games played mark in his career.  Heck, he played in more games in 2016 than he did in 2012, 2013, and 2014.

Not only did he play in the most games of his career, but he also put together his best season by far.  On the year, Barnes batted .306, with an on-base percentage of .377, a slugging of .477, giving him an OPS of .853. He also showed off his athleticism and the raw power.  Barnes swiped ten bases, and posted a respectable nine home runs.  One concern is he did strikeout 105 times, which is .85 times per game. However, this comes with the territory when looking at highly athletic players, but this kind of high rate is one that may hold him back going forward.


Barnes will be in the outfield in Triple-A Indianapolis this season.  If he can put up similar numbers to those in 2016 wit’s Altoona, then Barnes may just get a chance at the MLB level.  At this point, he projects as a fourth outfielder, due to injury history and his high strikeout rate.  Still, even if that is all he makes it as, it definitely will be pleasing. With his tool set, he could be a nice fourth outfielder to have.  Two years ago it seemed Barnes was going to be a complete bust, but now it seems he could have a shot to make it to PNC Park.