Prospect: Jaime Barria
Position(s): Right Handed Pitcher
Level: AAA Salt Lake
Age: Entering Age 21 season in 2018.
Height: 6’1” – Weight: 210 lbs
Floor: Back end of the rotation starter in the major leagues.
Ceiling: Greg Maddux type of hall of famer.
Likely Outcome: Mid-rotation starter in the major leagues.
Summary: Jaime Barria is one of those pitchers that you really learn to appreciate the longer you watch him. He’s also one of those pitchers that shows the masses just how important a well-placed pitch is. In a world full of high octane heat, Barria has cut and carved his way through every level of minor league baseball by the time he’s 21 years old.
He just flat out shoves.
I’ve watched Barria pitch probably twenty times now, and each time he shows me the same thing. Extreme confidence on the mound. No cocky celebrations or anything of the nature. No it’s like bases loaded, nobody out in the 9th inning with a one run lead and general faith in his ability to put up a zero. That kind of confidence. You can’t shake him. You might expect to see that from Clayton Kershaw, because he’s great. He’s been there and done that and proven it already. But Barria hasn’t reached the majors yet…..and yet that’s how he composes himself. You can’t teach it, it’s just natural.
Jaime Barria doesn’t really have a “plus” offering. He has good offerings. Like his change up……a very good offering. His fastball that cuts and dives…..a good offering. His slider that he can throw in the dirt or drop in at the knees. A good offering. But nothing that stands out. yet he continues to put up numbers that show just how he baffles hitters, no matter what level they’re at. He has pinpoint control. He just doesn’t walk hitters, and doesn’t give them the pitch they want to hit either.
If we’re in the business of making claims, and as a prospect writer I certainly am, Jaime Barria is ready to be a good major league starter right now. The only thing that’s stopping me from claiming that Jaime Barria is ready to be an all-star is the fact that he’s a fly ball pitcher. He doesn’t throw hard, doesn’t have the prototypical “out pitch” and he generates a lot of fly balls. This could be a recipe for disaster. It hasn’t hurt him yet, and I don’t anticipate it hurting him.
The reason being, there’s a difference between pop-flys and fly balls. A fly ball can travel great distances and result in crooked numbers. A pop-fly is a medium depth fly ball to the center fielder that you aren’t really concerned about. You’d think he’d be tested by hitting friendly environments but so far, it doesn’t matter where the Angels put him, Barria succeeds, and that includes a stint in the most hitter friendly park in the most hitter friendly league in America, Salt Lake in the Pacific Coast League.
Granted, it was only three starts but it was three utterly impressive starts for a 20 year old child pitching against major leaguers. And that my friends is why Jaime Barria isn’t a major leaguer yet. He’s so young he simply hasn’t had the opportunity to be one yet. But he will, and Angels fans will take to him over time. The media will largely ignore him until they can’t anymore, then they’ll ask where this kid came from. Then the next season there will be those that will call his success a fluke because his “stuff” just isn’t that good, and then he’ll do it again. By his third year in the majors, he’ll develop the “underrated” label.
But we don’t care about that so much. As fans, we care about how good he’ll be in the majors. Jaime Barria will be the sort of pitcher that you can pencil in for 180+ innings and a solid ERA on a yearly basis.
What to expect: Word is Barria will have a chance to compete for a spot on the Angels 6-man staff. I don’t buy it, at least not in the early going. The Angels have too many arms like Skaggs, Shoemaker and Tropeano that they’d like to see get healthy and contribute. But the longer Barria puts up solid numbers in Salt Lake, the harder it will be to ignore him. I envision Barria breaking into the Angels rotation in July and not looking back.
Estimated Time of Arrival: July, 2018. Jaime’s age 21 season.
Grade as a prospect: B+.
Grades Explained: Grade A player is a future superstar. Grade B player is a future regular. Grade C is a fringe major leaguer.