Unlike the Pitcher of the Month award where Trevor Williams was the only choice, the hitters group had a few choices to discuss. Logan Hill had a slightly higher OPS than Barrett Barnes, while Henrry Rosario had an OPS well above everyone else. Barnes had competition from his own teammate, as Stetson Allie had a very strong month. In the end, we went with Barrett Barnes as the Pirates Prospect Player of the Month for July.
The reason we went with Barnes is because he his age appropriate for his level. He had slightly better stats than Allie, while also getting a little more playing time. He wasn’t far behind Logan Hill in overall stats, but Hill lost some luster when he was dropped from Bradenton to West Virginia this season. In Low-A, Hill is old for the level. Rosario had a great month, as shown by his stats below. The problem is that he is a 23-year-old playing in a league full of 18-20 year old players, while playing a level lower than he was at last year. Basically, he should be dominating at that level.
Before this season, Barnes had missed a lot of time since being drafted in 2012 due to injury. His career high for games played is 95 set last year, and he played 194 games total in his first four seasons. Those injuries caused him to miss a lot of development time, which made it tough to get a good read on his progress. He remained a top 30 prospect in the system due to the tools, and also the fact that we never saw what he could do when he was healthy over a long stretch. Three average/below average months to start this season dropped him in our mid-season top 50 prospect rankings.
Barnes is just two games short of his career high going into Tuesday night’s action. He had a decent month of May with a .765 OPS, but both April and June were below average months. He came into July with a season OPS of .690 and left the month with a .779 OPS, which puts him just a few points out of the top 20 in the Eastern League. Barnes hit .404/.457/.521 in 27 games. He had a streak of 22 games in which he reached base at least once.
We are starting to see some of the reasons why he was taken 45th overall in the 2012 draft. Barnes is driving the ball better, using his speed to take extra bases on balls hit into the gaps. His defense has shown signs of improving, which just goes along with him getting consistent playing time. He will never be the potential five-tool center fielder we heard as a ceiling when he was drafted. His arm is below average and he’s more suited for left field. The power really hasn’t shown up, but he is a strong player, who hits the ball well, so there is a possibility for plenty of extra-base hits.
The key for Barnes going forward will be his health and continuing to stay within his game. Driving the ball to all parts of the field and using his speed to his advantage. July was a glimpse of what got him drafted so high, now he needs to prove it wasn’t a fluke.
PLAYERS OF THE MONTH BY LEVEL
Indianapolis – Jose Osuna, LF/1B (.289/.333/.544, 96 PA, 4 HR)
Altoona – Barrett Barnes, LF (.404/.457/.521, 106 PA, 0 HR)
Bradenton – Elvis Escobar, OF (.353/.398/.471, 94 PA, 1 HR)
West Virginia – Logan Hill, OF (.315/.384/.607, 99 PA, 4 HR)
Morgantown – Will Craig, 3B (.293/.409/.440, 93 PA, 1 HR)
Bristol – Huascar Fuentes, 1B (.312/.379/.481, 87 PA, 2 HR)
GCL – Henrry Rosario, OF (.386/.461/.705, 102 PA, 4 HR)
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.