Barnes throws a hard curve that sits well above average at nearly 86 mph. Because of that velocity, it doesn’t have as much break as you might expect, but the bend is a little more explosive. It’s a 12-6 that features a touch of right to left sweep, but mostly dives at hitters’ toes as it approaches the plate. It’s a terrific pitch for him, getting whiffs at a 41% clip and allowing a .226 wOBA. That’s probably why he throws it 50% of the time.
Barnes’ fastball is of the four-seam variety and he throws gas, sitting at 96-97 mph. It’s a nasty pitch that explodes on the hitter and has above average ride, to boot. He focuses on pounding it at the top of the zone and in turn he gets a metric ton of whiffs at nearly 30%. That’s obscene on a fastball.
Matt Barnes’ offspeed offering is a split-finger that he throws rather sparingly at 2%. That’s probably because it’s not great. While it does have above average velo at 88, it just doesn’t have the drop that you would expect from a splitter. It sort of wafts to the arm side – well, as much as anything can waft at 88 mph. All in all, in was hammered in 2019 for a .414 wOBA despite a 57% whiff rate. Hitters swung through it or smoked it.
Barnes brings the heat with a high-90s fastball that maxed out a tick below 100 last season. At that speed hitters had trouble catching up to a pitch that registered a 31% K rate. Still, Barnes had control issues, which led to a 15% walk rate on the pitch and kept his pVal at an even 0.0 for the year.
It’s tough to hit a pitcher throwing 95+ mph, and even tougher when he mixes it with a brilliant secondary pitch. This is the case with Barnes curveball which fooled batters consistently and was an awesome knockout pitch late in counts. Hitters couldn’t even keep their SLG over .175 against Barnes curveball, as they got ZERO long balls in 105 PAs.
Barnes mixes in a changeup once in a while to keep hitters honest at the plate, but the stats say he should just stick with his primary stuff. The pitch put up a -3.1 pVal/C and hitters triple slashed .278/.391/.611 against it.