This fight was notably closer then the first two, but in the end Matt Barnes pulled away late, ensuring that The Three Bs will indeed represent the top of the class for the Red Sox.
The Red Sox and their fans were understandably pleased when Barnes fell to them at the 19th pick of the 2011 draft. Even in a talent-packed class, Barnes was seen as bordering on a top-10 talent, leaving him a fairly easy choice when the Sox wound up getting their shot at him. A big righty with a fastball to match and a good out pitch in his curveball, the only thing keeping Barnes from the majors seemed to be a couple years and some development for his changeup.
So far, he's done a pretty good job of proving that expectation right. While fans may have been spoiled a bit by his early-season results in Greenville--the competition was simply overmatched by his fastball alone at that level--Barnes showed plenty of good stuff when he bounced up to High-A Salem as well. If his 3.58 ERA was some ten times that of his mark in Greenville, it's still a solid figure especially given the difficulties promotion can lead to. Add in a strong 91:25 K:BB and there's little not to like.
There was even a bit of late fade to Barnes' season, dragging down his numbers as a whole. While this might seem like a bad thing, it's hard to really imagine a guy with his build and fluid mechanics struggling with fatigue issues long-term. Chances are this is more of a one-time thing as Barnes gets used to the higher demands of a professional season.
He's a bit further away then the other two Bs, having not made Double-A in 2012. But it's entirely possible that's where he'll start 2013, and if he ends up making his first major league appearance in 2014 that could be considered right on schedule for a player his age. The jury is still out on whether he's a front-line or 2-3 type starter, but the Red Sox will not complain about either outcome for their no. 3 prospect.
Now that the three Bs have taken their rightful place atop the rankings, who will head up the next tier? Voting remains the same:
I'll name candidates in the comments below, and you rec the comment of the player you want to vote for. For those unfamiliar with how to go about that, just click "actions" underneath the comment and then "rec." Nice and easy, though you do have to be a member to join in.
On the off chance I forget or otherwise leave someone out, you are free to start your own voting thread for that player. I'll even give it a rec of my own to make up for your vote.