The Pirates have promoted right-handed pitcher Yhonathan Barrios to Indianapolis, Pirates Prospects has learned. Barrios had a 1.46 ERA in 24.2 innings, with a 12:9 K/BB ratio in Altoona this year. He was working as their closer, converting 10 of 11 save opportunities.
The back story with Barrios is interesting. He was signed for $250,000 in 2008, which was the first year Neal Huntington took over, and thus, the first year the Pirates really started investing in Latin America. As a result, he was one of the biggest bonuses in Pirates’ history at the time. The interesting thing is that he was signed as a shortstop with a lot of raw power potential. That never worked out, and he was completely overmatched at the plate, so the Pirates converted him to the mound in 2013.
I saw him in the GCL that season, and he was sitting mid-90s and hitting 98-99 with ease. He was impressive enough that he broke into our top 50 solely on his stuff that year. He has carried that velocity over to both levels of A-ball last year, and now Double-A. He also showed some potential with a slider, although it’s not a great out pitch at the moment. He also has a good feel for a changeup, which is his best off-speed offering. If he can develop a good out pitch, he could be a late inning reliever in the majors one day.
No word on a corresponding move from Indianapolis. Yesterday we announced that Brett McKinney was moved up to Altoona, so that’s likely going to be the move there.