If you blinked while Barlow was on the mound, you probably missed watching the Royals’ bullpen arm throw his changeup. He turned to the pitch a mere three times in 2019, and with one of those offerings being torched for a home run (on top of a 100% contact rate), it’s probably understandable why Barlow’s change is a nearly nonexistent factor in his arsenal.
Bolstered by an excellent 47.6% chase rate and flashing a 20.7% swinging-strike rate, Barlow’s curveball sported near-Money Pitch credentials: It was only a 37.9% zone rate that kept the breaking ball on the outside looking in. Barlow turns to his curve often to polish batters off, posting a whopping 63.5% strikeout rate.
Barlow’s four-seamer sits around 94 mph, ranking in the 70th percentile for fastball velocity on Baseball Savant and hanging around with a just-above-average (56th percentile) spin rate. That average velocity is up from about 91 mph the season before, gaining a generous three ticks on the radar gun.
The slider is Barlow’s primary offspeed pitch, and like his curveball, sports some effective peripherals: A 17.3% swinging-strike rate, 38.4% chase rate, and 36.1% zone rate are all in range to hear the siren call of the Money Pitch. Barlow put up a 45.7% chase rate and 44.4% zone rate in 2018, so with his swinging-strike rate on the rise (up 3% from his debut season), there’s reason to believe he can find that guile and command again.