Red Sox Call-Up Matt Barnes, Makes Debut In Relief

Matt Barnes

It looks like Jackie Bradley Jr. is not the only Boston Red Sox first round pick from 2011 who will pay off.

On Monday, in an unsurprising move, the Red Sox called up pitcher Matt Barnes from AAA Pawtucket. Barnes, 24, posted a 3.95 ERA in 23 outings for the Paw Sox this year, 22 of which were starts.
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Adding Barnes to the 40-man roster protects him from being selected in the Rule V Draft this upcoming December.

The corresponding roster move transferred Hawaiian outfielder Shane Victorino to the 60-day DL.

On Tuesday, Barnes made his MLB debut, and it was one to remember. Tossing just his second career pro outing in relief, Barnes looked like a natural. Giving Boston three great innings— allowing three hits while punching out a pair of batters.

The most pleasant surprise of the outing was the cheddar so-to-speak. Known as a flamethrower who often hit 98 mph in his college career, Barnes has toned it down a notch as of late. In his most recent AAA outings, his fastball sat comfortable around 90-91 mph. On Tuesday however, Barnes consistently hit 95-96 mph on the radar gun and sat comfortably at 93 mph according to the PitchFx tool on Fangraphs. With this in mind, expect Barnes to bring on more velocity in his relief outings than he would as a starter.
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Despite putting up modest numbers for the Paw Sox, Barnes is a much better pitcher than his numbers indicate. At first, it appeared as though Barnes had met his match in AAA, but that could not be any further from the truth. Since the all-star break, in nine starts, his ERA in Pawtucket stands at 2.10. He has struck out 7.8 per nine innings and walking just 2.3 men.

Although Barnes is a starter by trade, he will be used out of the bullpen for the rest of this season. Boston is already using a six-man rotation as it is right now, so there would be no chance they bump it up to seven. Luckily for Barnes, with a solid performance here, he may have a good chance to break the roster as a reliever come 2015.
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In his pro career, Barnes has only made one other relief appearance. When he pitched in relief, Barnes hurled three scoreless frames on three hits while striking out two — almost identical to his outing in the big leagues. Now though, it is clear his first relief appearance was not be his last.

He last pitched on September 4th and gave the Paw Sox an impressive outing. Going seven strong, Barnes allowed no runs on three hits while punching-out six. He was scheduled to make another start in the playoffs, but obviously he will not be making that start now.
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Barnes will wear No. 68 for the Red Sox and is available to go whenever he is needed.

Examining Potential Red Sox September Call-Ups

potential red soxWith September rolling around the corner, every single team in Major League Baseball will experience a major change on their rosters soon. This is because of September call-ups which allow teams to have up to 40 men on their big league roster. Although it is extremely rare for a team to utilize all 40 spots, using somewhere in the range of 30-35 is fairly common. Granted the Boston Red Sox are on pace to finish with their worst record since 2012, and will more than likely finish with their worst record since 1960, many men will be granted the opportunity to play during the final month of the year. With this in mind, let’s take a look and see who will be in Red Sox this September.
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Anthony Ranaudo certainly makes a compelling case to get the call. If leading the International League with a 2.46 ERA in 23 starts is not convincing enough, he did something that is much more convincing. In his first career big league start, Ranaudo beat the Yankees giving up two earned runs over six sharp innings while striking out his childhood hero — Derek Jeter. When called up expect Ranaudo to make a few starts for Boston.

The starting center fielder for the Boston Red Sox for the majority of the season, Jackie Bradley Jr. and his outstanding defense will once again shine at Fenway Park. Despite hitting just .216 over the course of 112 MLB games this year, his tenure in Pawtucket should prove to be beneficial for the former first round pick.
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After signing him to a seven year $72.5 million contract, it seems quite certain that Rusney Castillo will make his Major League debut this year. He is making $100k for the rest of this season and is already on the 40-man roster. Although he will not be the greatest player who ever lived in his first game, expect to see some serious potential from the 27-year-old Cuban defector including a few stolen bases.
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Most teams like to have an extra catcher once September rolls around. Now that Ryan Lavarnway is on the disabled list, Dan Butler should get the call. He already has three games of big league experience this season and is a great receiver behind the plate. Although he is not the most talented player to ever step on a diamond, he is one of the hardest working and that should count for something. Butler will prove handy in giving veteran David Ross more rest late in the season.

Steven Wright is almost guaranteed a promotion next month. The knuckleballer can eat up plenty of lopsided innings when called upon which could potentially save the bullpen. On August 17th he did just that when he tossed four innings in relief against the Houston Astros allowing one run on four hits while striking out four as Boston fell to Houston 8-1. By the end of the season, expect Wright to give a couple more outings like that to the big league club.
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Heath Hembree is a guy who will be seeing plenty of innings next month. Acquired as part of the Jake Peavy deal, Hembree has the stuff of a future closer and is closing games in Pawtucket. He already pitched thrice this year at the big league level tossing six innings allowing three runs on six hits gaining the trust of manager John Farrell. The righty may prove valuable in high-leverage situations this season.

Brandon Workman will be called-up for sure. Despite struggling as a starter this season posting a 5.13 ERA in five starts, it is clear he is a part of the future of the Boston Red Sox. Most likely though, it is as a reliever meaning he will likely pitch in relief during his final tenure with the big club this year. As a reliever, he will fare much better than he did as a starter to say the least.
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An on-base machine and effective platoon player, Alex Hassan makes a strong case for a September call-up. The outfielder owns a .372 OBP in Pawtucket this year while slashing .345/.422/.527 in 110 at-bats against southpaws, Hassan is a potential replacement for Jonny Gomes. Even though he is effective against right-handed pitching, it is safe to assume Boston likes him for his potential as a platoon player.

Other than the men previously mentioned, some players have a chance at being a September call-up. The most likely player to get the call who was not mentioned yet is Garin Cecchini. Although he will most likely not be called-up right away, he should get the call after Pawtucket is out of the playoffs. Matt Barnes also has a shot at getting a call as he is pitching much better as of late, but he is not on the 40-man roster. Boston may add him to it and see what he can do in relief at the big league level this year.
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Although none of these players will turn around the lost cause that is the 2014 Boston Red Sox season, collectively as a group they will make it worth watching. There is plenty of talent in the Red Sox system, so expect them to utilize much of it next month. The most exciting debut to watch for will be that of Rusney Castillo who will have a major impact on the future of the Boston Red Sox. Other than Castillo, the Red Sox will be bringing up talent all around the diamond, so watch and see what some of these young players can do.