Prospect Profile: Matt Barnes

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Creagh profiles Boston Red Sox RHP, Matt Barnes

A favorite deep sleeper of mine in 2014 leagues is Boston Red Sox starting pitcher, Matt Barnes. A righty who reached AAA last season, Barnes could find his way into the rotation at some point in 2014 and put up solid fantasy numbers. The former 19th overall pick in 2011 was drafted out of the University of Connecticut and flew through the Boston farm system without much of a hiccup. While the Boston rotation is currently loaded with arms, and there are a few guys like Allen Webster and Brandon Workman who might get a crack at the rotation first when injury strikes; if Barnes gets a chance, fantasy owners should take notice.

Matt Barnes will turn 24 in June so he's a bit older than most prospects we've written about, but his game is more polished as a result. Featuring a potentially plus-plus fastball that works 93-96, the only thing holding him back is spotty command. Barnes flirted with a near 4.0 BB/9 rate in AA last season and while the command won't kill him, he lacks the elite secondary offerings to get away with poor fastball location. From a fantasy perspective, the walks are negated by his top shelf strikeout rates - 11.2 K/9 in AA during 2013. The curveball and changeup lag behind the fastball, but both have the potential to be average offerings. The development of both of these pitches, especially the curveball, will be crucial for Barnes to stick in the rotation. He'll have some time in the beginning of 2014 to work things out and if he can throw a sharp curveball with any sort of consistency, there's potential for big fantasy return.

The upside with Barnes is a number 3 starter and the floor is setup-type role out of the bullpen. The dominant fastball insures that he will find his way to the Show and probably stick. His size (6'4" 205 lbs.) hints at there still being something more in the tank, so I'm not giving up on the changeup/curveball yet. Barnes just might put it together and max out his ceiling. He's going cheap in fantasy drafts and I was able to nab him in the 6th round of a 20 team dynasty draft (pick 103), and in a league that counts holds he's going to offer some sort of value.

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