The Red Sox have selected right-handed UConn pitcher Matt Barnes with the 19th overall pick in the 2011 MLB draft.
Barnes, 20, was expected by many to go in the top-10, but fell to the Red Sox thanks to some early shakeups. Barnes is a big guy at 6'4" and slightly over 200 pounds, and has drawn comparisons to Detroit ace Justin Verlander. While he doesn't quite match Verlander's velocity yet, Barnes also brings a very strong curveball to the mix, and a changeup that has received some mixed reviews, but is generally considered to have a good deal of potential.
One of the biggest question marks for Barnes lies in his collegiate stats, which just haven't been as dominant as might be expected for a guy with his stuff. The 3.92 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 83 innings he put up as a sophomore in college isn't usually the stuff future aces are made of. While he was able to reduce the ERA by a great deal this year, the peripherals haven't improved a ton to go with it.
Either way, though, Barnes represents a big talent the likes of which the Sox aren't usually capable of nabbing without big signability questions to go along with it. A bit of added bulk and some work on the changeup could produce a very strong member of the Red Sox' rotation. If nothing else, Barnes will be able to pound the strike zone with some fireballs, though to use him as a closer would seem a waste.
Take a look at the newest Red Sox prospect:
Reactions from elsewhere after the jump.
Matt Sickels thinks the Red Sox found just what they were looking for:
It is hard to believe that Barnes wasn't drafted out of high school, but he developed rapidly in college and thrived in the 2010 Cape Cod League, putting himself on the radar for this spring. His mechanics are clean and his command is very strong for a power pitcher. He profiles out as a number two starter, and was considered a candidate for as early as the sixth or seventh pick of the draft at one point. Boston fans should be very happy with this selection.
ESPN.com's bunch wondered just how exactly he ended up where he did:
Kevin Goldstein: 19. Boston: Matt Barnes, RHP, Connecticut -- shocked he lasted this thing, really good fit for them.
Jim Bowden: How did Ranaudo fall to Red Sox last year and Barnes this year?
Jeff Sackmann: To put in perspective, some early mocks had Barnes as high as the middle of the top 10. Such a deep draft, somebody great was going to fall this far.
Keith Law: Love the Barnes pick. Funny how the Sox just kind of sat there ... and that fell to them.