Hunter Barco was the 44th overall pick in the 2022 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. A product coming out of the University of Florida, the lefty signed for $1,525,000, making him the second of three players we’ll talk about today from this draft class. There’s a good possibility that Barco increases his stock and goes earlier in this year’s draft had it not been for a poorly timed Tommy John surgery.
Before getting injured he was mowing down SEC batters. Barco had a 2.50 ERA and .894 WHIP through 50 innings on the bump. Barco struck out batters at an impressive 34.3% rate. He also held them to just 11 base on balls (5.5% walk rate). However, his 1.08 HR/9 isn’t going to blow anyone away, though it was above the average for the conference (1.15).
When healthy, Barco sat around 90-93 MPH and topped out at 95 MPH. Barco’s slider is a plus-plus offering with sweeping action, making it the best pitch in his arsenal. His change-up is another above-average offering that he has a good feel for and adds some deception to because of his arm speed.
Barco has a side-arm delivery, which helps all his stuff play up because of the deception and movement it adds. The southpaw showed off quality command over his offerings as well. Many see him as a low-variance starting pitching prospect, projecting as a middle-rotation arm. However, his mechanics and command give him the chance to surpass that and become something greater in the future. Tommy John surgery pushed back his debut to sometime next season, but you should still look forward to what Barco can do on the mound.