Matt Barnes was a first-round pick (No. 19 overall) by the Boston Red Sox out of the University of Connecticut in 2011. He has a big fastball that can touch 98 and does a good job of keeping it down and working it to both sides of the plate.
He also has a curve and change. The curve has good, sharp break, but it is still a bit inconsistent and can be left up in the zone at times. When he has solid control of it, the curve looks like a potential plus pitch with good swing and miss potential. The change is average as his arm does slow down at times when he throws it. If he can keep the arm slot and speed the same as his fastball, it could become an above average pitch.
Due to the inconsistency with his off-speed stuff, Barnes is still a little while away from big league ready. He might be able to make his debut late in the season, but if they hold him off until 2015 it would not be a bad idea. If his secondary pitches reach their potential he has the upside of a No. 2 or No. 3 starter.
Barnes was listed as the 86th overall prospect in the recently released MLB.com’s top 100, but he could climb that list with a solid season. He will spend the season in a loaded Pawtucket rotation, but the plethora of big league ready arms will allow him to work on his pitches this season rather than focusing on results or putting it together in the big leagues. His future is very bright as is the case with many Red Sox prospects.