In 2013, the LA Angels signed the highly promising international free agent and RHP Jaime Barria. After a few years of work in the minors it appears Jaime is ramping up to appear with the Angels in short time. Many have his Major League ETA penciled in at 2019/2020, but is it possible he can impact the Major League club in 2018?
The 21-year old right-handed pitcher from Panama, Jaime Barria,has enjoyed a fair amount of success throughout his minor league development. Five seasons of a sub-4 ERA throughout all levels the minors, including a 2017 season which featured a powerful 2.80 ERA across 141.2 IP, have all but stamped his ticket to the Majors.
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A decent amount of excitement has built around Barria’s present and future abilities at the mound. His three-pitch repertoire is built on a strong fastball-changeup combo with a solid curveball to keep hitters honest. Paired with his solid repertoire is an excellent delivery that greatly empowers his pitches, especially his fastball; although it averages around 93mph, Barria’s downward delivery enforces a healthy below-the-knees, downward-planing fastball.
His ability to pepper the entire surface area of the strike-zone with success is a major factor in his strikeout game. Barria’s 117K/31BB rate evidences his shining ability to keep hitters uncomfortable. The biggest factor of Barria’s future success in the Majors is his highly consistent ground ball production.
While Barria has worked as mainly as a starter throughout his 5 year minor league career there are rumblings that he may end up tracking towards a relief role. Although this is a strong possibility, many factors such as his well-developed mechanics and ground ball rate still keep him trending as a starter.
When you look at Barria’s splits you can easily surmise his ability to keep hitters off-balance. Throughout the 2017 season, Barria deftly contained hitters to a .227 BA in his 26 appearances; even more telling is his BAbip (BA regarding balls in play), which sits at a comfortable .262.
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Clearly he has the talent to establish a starting role, Barria isn’t relying entirely on his strike-out ability to put hitters away. He can pepper the aptly pepper the entire strike-zone and put you off-speed with his naturally evolved change-up. If there is one tenant that lives on throughout all skill levels of baseball, it’s that a powerful fastball-changeup combo can keep even the keenest of hitters discomforted.
Now, 2018 may still be a little early to track Barria at, but his natural ability is beginning to push that envelope. Not only that, but the Angels are in an awkward position regarding their starting pitching. The Angels really don’t have anyone they can count on to anchor their starting staff; Garrett Richards is excessively injury prone and Shohei Ohtani is unproven in the Majors despite his unbounded talents.
The rest of the Angels rotation is made up of guys looking to fully establish themselves within the Angels rotation like Andrew Heaney, Tyler Skaggs, Shoemaker and Bridwell. This allows fair opportunity for Jaime Barria to infiltrate the starting rotation; factor in his valued ground-ball ability and you have a pitcher who can potentially offer the ‘deep-outing’ skill set the Angels need to acquire.
There is a blatant need for consistency among the Angels starting staff. Going into 2018 with an almost certainly experimental rotation, it’s a near-guarantee that Jaime Barria will factor into those plans.