Today the Los Angeles Angels will send rookie Jaime Barria to the mound against Matt Moore and the Texas Rangers. This will be Barria’s MLB debut and here’s a quick take on what to look for.
The Angels spent just $60,000 to sign Barria as a free agent from Panama in 2013. After fair but promising performance in the low minors, he broke out in 2017 with an excellent season at three levels: 2.48, 57/13 K/BB in 65 innings in the California League; 3.21, 47/15 K/BB in 62 innings in the Southern League; 2.45, 13/3 K/BB in 15 innings in the Pacific Coast League.
Barria ranked sixth on the pre-season Los Angeles Angels Top 20 Prospects list with this comment:
6) Jaime Barria, RHP, Grade B-/B: Age 21, signed out of Panama in 2013, posted 2.80 ERA with 117/31 K/BB in 142 innings between High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A with equivalent performances at each level; stuff is solid-average across the board, low-90s fastball, workable curve and change-up, doesn’t have a truly plus pitch but entire arsenal will play up due to his command and mound presence, there are guys with better stuff in the system but few have as much polish at age 21 than Barria does; I think he’s a number three starter if he maintains his health; ETA late 2018.
Fleshing that out a bit, Barria is a command/control guy, averaging 92 with his fastball while making liberal use of his secondary pitches. The change-up is the best of the off-speed offerings with some evaluators giving it a plus rating at this point. His Brooks Baseball summary (admittedly based on a very small sample size) dovetails with the scouting reports, noting that the change-up “generates an extremely high number of swings & misses.”
Other than the change-up I think the two main things to watch for tonight are:
A) How well does he spot the fastball? This was a big strength in the minors for Barria;
B) Is the breaking ball a true curve or more of a slurve?