Pinstripe Preview: Johnny Barbato
In a bullpen battle that will feature an open competition to fill a few spots, young righty Johnny Barbato should be in that mix. Barbato made the opening day roster in 2016 after pitching to a very impressive 1.64 ERA in 11 appearances last spring. However, Barbato faced struggles getting big league hitters out resulting in him spending the majority of 2016 in Triple-A. With several pitchers vying for one or two spots in the bullpen, Barbato could put himself in that mix with another strong spring.
Barbato started hot in the month of April in 2016. He pitched his way to a 2.53 ERA in eight appearances before allowing four earned runs in 0.1 innings on April 30 in Boston. Barbato's struggles continued resulting in his demotion in May, but he made the most of his demotion, before being called back up for one final appearance in August.
Barbato would go 3-2 with a 2.61 ERA in 31 appearances with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. He held opposing hitters to a .213 clip against him. Barbato has a career 1.84 ERA in Triple-A, so if he can continue mowing hitters down, he should force his way to the big leagues this year.
Barbato projects as a guy who could be a solid middle-inning reliever in the big leagues, especially with the current state of the dominant Yankee bullpen. He's a hard-thrower with a fastball in the mid-upper 90's, and he has good movement on both his slider and his curveball. He gets a lot of swings and misses but has a tendency to leave balls up which is where he runs into trouble. I look for Barbato to continue developing in Triple-A this year, and potentially becoming a member of the infamous “Scranton-Shuttle” before being called up in September. However, it is possible Barbato gets removed from the 40-man roster in light of the Chris Carter signing, so that is something to look out for.
Article by: Chad RainesFollow @chad_rain