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Prospect Retro: Michael Barrett

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Michael Barrett (AP)

Prospect Retrospective: Michael Barrett

Michael Barrett was drafted by the Expos in the 1st round (28th overall) of the 1995 draft, out of high school in Atlanta. He was considered a very polished hitter, although there was mixed opinion about whether he was better-suited to be a catcher or a third baseman in pro ball. There were also questions about how much power he would develop. He hit .311/.369/.426 in 50 games of rookie ball after signing. At this point, he would have ranked as something like a Grade B prospect.

Barrett moved up to the Sally League in '96, hitting just .238/.272/.342 for Delmarva, very disappointing stats. His strikeout rate was low (42 Ks in 474 at-bats), but he drew only 18 walks, and hit just 4 homers. I don't remember what grade I gave him, and don't have my books with me, but I can't see how I would have rated him higher than C+ based on this performance.

Barrett improved in '97, hitting .284/.345/.411 with 30 doubles at Class A West Palm Beach. His walk rate nearly doubled, his strikeouts remained steady, and as a result his production improved across the board. He maintained his progress in '98, hitting .320 with 19 homers at Double-A Harrisburg, improving his power at a higher level and emerging as one of the better prospects in the game.

The Expos rushed him to the Majors in '99 without any Triple-A experience. It didn't seem to hurt him as he hit .293, but he slumped the following season and has been erratic ever since, very good at times but almost useless at others.

Barrett's best minor league attributes were age-relative-to-league and a low strikeout rate. He showed improvement at each level, a good marker, but would have benefited from a full season of Triple-A. I really don't have any idea what to expect from him for the future. It wouldn't surprise me to see him hit .320 someday, and it wouldn't surprise me if he had several years with sub-.250 batting averages and weak power. Hell, he could meet both those expectations.

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