Boston Red Sox pitchers: Who will trend up or down?
By Rick McNair
The alt-Kelly’s is also in the bullpen and – like Kelly – have a calling card that is a fastball and that is Heath Hembree and Matt Barnes. Hembree does not have the velocity (93.5) that Kelly possesses (96.7) nor does he get that ever fortuitous ground ball (33.7% career) and his ERA (2.65) may be misleading in comparison to his xFIP (4.36), but that will certainly not stop me for there is something there that I like.
Hembree will not be a significant bullpen piece and I am realist enough to recognize that. The numbers game with arms and the fact that Barnes may have the inside track could make Hembree expendable. What will happen – if Hembree sticks – is some important contributions that will be vital. Just a hunch, but I find it difficult to give up on a pitcher who was once quite valued by the Giants – an organization that knows pitching.
Barnes was a number one draft pick and maybe patience with his development will win out? Last season Barnes appeared in 62 games and registered 16 holds – if you place any credence in that statistical gem.
Barnes throws hard (96.6/2016) and that results in a very attractive K/9 of 9.59, but like far too many young pitchers Barnes has a wee bit of location issues with a BB/9 of 4.19. Barnes also gave up 62 hits in his 66.2 innings and that when combined with 31 walks explains a matching ERA and xFIP of 4.05. This season I expect the consistency to appear.