Barnes snapped off a single curveball in 2019, bouncing a non-competitive pitch in the dirt. The reliever relies almost exclusively on a fastball-slider combo, and his infinitesimal curve usage proves his repertoire is likely to stay that way.
A season after earning a 1.6 pVAL, Barnes’ fastball lost nearly two ticks on its average velocity (21st percentile on Statcast) and some gains from those positive 2018 strides. The heater’s walk rate matched its strikeout rate at 18.1%, dropped back down to a single-digit (4.1%) swinging-strike rate, and allowed opposing batters to slash .310/.431/.586.
Since his debut in the Brewers’ bullpen in 2016, Barnes’ slider has earned diminishing returns in some essential indicators. The 2019 season marked career lows in strikeout rate (21.8%), swinging-strike rate (14.1%), and chase rate (33.3%). A jump in HR/FB rate (up from 9.1% to 28.6%) kept Barnes’ slide piece pVAL in the red.
Barnes’ four-seamer was decent in 2018, earning a 1.6 pVal, and even has a little room for improvement. The pitch had similar batted-ball data compared with 2017 and even increased his IFFB% to 37.5, but the pitch’s BABIP went from .270 to .312, causing his BAA to rise 40 points.
Barnes’ slider underperformed in 2018, earning a -3.6 pVal after earning a 6.4 pVal in 2017. 2018 saw some troubling trends with major reductions in SwStr%, O-swing%, and K% as well as a major increase in Contact%, from 54.3% in 2017 to 67.2% in 2018.