6'2" 170 lbs. DOB: 1/11/89
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
2008: Hudson Valley
Acquired: 2007 Draft, 3rd Round, 95th Overall
Maybe he doesn't excite people quite the same way that Matt Moore does, but Nick Barnese put up numbers just about as good as Moore's one level higher, dominating the New York-Penn League in 2008. His numbers weren't as cartoonish as Moore's were, but as a 19-year old Barnese went 5-3 with a 2.45 ERA in 66 innings over 13 starts. He struck out 84 walked 24, and generated a lot of ground balls(55%).
Barnese, the Rays 2007 3rd rounder, showed what he could do in his first pro season with Princeton, striking out 37, walking 4, and getting a ton of ground balls(65%). The difference between 2007 and 2008 is that he really opened up his repertoire this year. In his debut, he relied very heavily on his fastball, which is easily his best pitch. He throws it in the low-90s, but it's really notable for its movement and the command he has over it. He consistently works down in the zone, which allows him to generate ground balls and keep the ball in the yard(in over 100 innings his first two seasons, he's allowed just two home runs).
In 2008, he worked in his curveball and changeup more, though they lag far behind his fastball. His breaking ball is a three-quarters curveball with good late movement, but at this point it isn't really a put-away pitch. With work, he could develop it into a plus offering, or at least an above-average one. He also worked on his change-up, but it has a ways to go.
Barnese maybe doesn't have an ace ceiling(though we can talk about that if he starts running the fastball into the upper-90s with the same movement), his athleticism and loose arm action leave room for projection. His secondary pitches have a lot of developing to do to catch up with his fastball, and it'll be important for him not to fall into the trap of over-relying on his heater. He'll head to full-season Bowling Green this year and should continue to be promoted at about one level a year.