Yesterday the Baltimore Orioles traded left-handed pitcher Brian Matusz and a competitive balance draft pick (number 76) to the Atlanta Braves for a pair of pitching prospects: right-hander Brandon Barker and left-hander Trevor Belicek. Here's a quick take on the newest Baltimore farmhands.
Brandon Barker, RHP: Barker was a 2014 draft choice, selected in the 16th round from Mercer University. He had solid results in 2015 (3.25 ERA, 109/41 K/BB in 147 innings at three levels) and was off to another good start in 2016, posting a 2.00 ERA in 45 innings for Double-A Mississippi, with a 40/12 K/BB and 35 hits allowed.
Barker is a 6-3, 210 pounder born August 20, 1992. His fastball is decent enough at 88-92, sometimes a notch higher, and he'll mix in a slider and change-up. The slider is probably his best pitch and there's some deception in his delivery that helps his pitches play up. Overall command is his best attribute, giving him projection as a fifth starter or relief option.
Trevor Belicek, LHP: The Braves drafted Belicek in the 16th round last year from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. He was a very successful starting pitcher in college and did particularly good work his senior season, posting a 2.87 ERA in 88 innings with a 111/28 K/BB and just 70 hits allowed. He has remained effective in pro ball, with a 2.35 ERA in 85 innings thus far, with an excellent 73/13 K/BB ratio. He was recently promoted to Double-A where he's given up one unearned run in three innings of work, with three strikeouts and zero walks.
Belicek is a 6-3, 215 pound southpaw born December 10, 1992. He features a fastball in the 86-90 range and a curveball; he also used a change-up when starting in college but the Braves were using him as a reliever so he didn't use it as often. Command is his best attribute and he's made short work of minor league hitters. He is an intriguing sleeper prospect.