YHONATHAN BARRIOS (OF)
Age: 23… Height: 5’10″… Weight: 200
Bats: Both… Throws: Right
Profile: Milwaukee acquired Barrios from the Pittsburgh Pirates earlier this season in exchange for aging third baseman Aramis Ramirez. The 23-year-old righty was originally signed by the Pirates out of Columbia as an infielder before moving to the mound in 2013.
Barrios made ten relief appearances for the Pirates Gulf Coast League affiliate in 2013 and went 2-1 with an 0.82 earned run average, allowing just one earned run in eleven innings of work. He moved up to A-ball in 2014, splitting the season between Low-A West Virginia and High-A Bradenton. In 41 games, Barrios posted an ERA of 3.86, striking out 50 batters in 58.1 innings of work.
The Pirates promoted Barrios to Double-A Altoona to start the 2015 season and he appeared in 20 games, going 0-1 with a 1.46 ERA before a mid-June promotion to Triple-A Indianapolis. He pitched in 13 Triple-A contests and in late July was traded to Milwaukee, joining the Brewers Double-A team in Biloxi. Barrios proved to be a valuable piece of the Shuckers bullpen down the stretch, going 3-2 with a 3.15 ERA in 16 relief appearances.
Strengths: The biggest weapon that Barrios possesses is a mid-to-high 90’s fastball, that has been clocked as high as 100 mph in the past. Hitters have a hard time catching up with his gas and he’ll also mix in a slider and changeup that give him a nice arsenal when he can throw them all for strikes.
Weaknesses: Coming up as an infielder and having only pitched for three seasons, Barrios has limited experience on the mound. He’s still learning how to pitch and work to hitters and can sometimes rely too much on his fastball. He also struggled a bit with his control early on, but has shown improvement in that area, issuing just five walks following the trade to the Brewers.
Future: Milwaukee knew they were buying a lottery ticket when they dealt for Barrios, but early returns have been positive and he could turn in to another bullpen piece for the rebuilding Brewers. There aren’t a lot of guys with the kind of velocity that Barrios has so if he can throw strikes and continue to improve his secondary offerings, he should get his chance as a late inning reliever over the next few seasons.