2018 RATING: 3.49
2017 RATING: 3.76
2018 SALARY: Pre-arbitration
2018 PERFORMANCE: 0-1, 5.14 ERA, 4.16 FIP, 7 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 1 HR, 2 BB, 6 SO, 1.429 WHIP
2019 STATUS: Pre-arbitration 2
After putting up 86.1 innings of above league average pitching in the 2016 and 2017 seasons, it seemed like Jake Barrett was a virtual lock to pitch some meaningful inning for the 2018 team as well. After all, he represented a decent, inexpensive bullpen arm with minor league options remaining. Then the team made the decision to instead turn to veterans Jorge De La Rosa and Fernando Salas to fill out the bullpen. Still, bullpens are volatile things, so it seemed like it was only a matter of time before Barrett would join the bullpen. As it turns out, this was sort of the case. Indeed, on 11 May, Barrett was called up from Reno to serve as bullpen depth during the team’s search for a fifth starter. However, that search also resulted in Barrett not even having time to unpack his bags before heading back to Reno the very next day, after having turned in an eight-pitch perfect inning.
Barrett had to wait until June before returning to the MLB roster. Still, his exposure was minimal to say the least. Through two separate call-ups, the right-hander contributed a total of 4.1 innings across four appearances. He didn’t see big league action again until the 28th and 30th of September, his final two appearances for the Diamondbacks, as they limped across the finish line from their final month collapse.
It’s unclear why Barrett, like Jimmie Sherfy, languished in the minors for so much of 2018. Yes, his walk rate, even in Reno, was higher than some would like. On the other hand, he was getting results with his pitching profile and was largely the same pitcher he had been in 2016 and 2017. In 42 games with the Reno Aces, Barrett compiled 53.1 innins and 2.87 ERA with a BB:SO ratio of 29:67 (11.3 SO9). With the team in dire need of fresh arms in the bullpen, it seems odd that Barrett did not receive more of a chance to help smooth things over. The worst-case scenario would have been that he performed at the level of Matt Andriese, a pitcher they actually traded for.
With the Diamondbacks having a stated goal of trimming payroll for the 2019 season, it seems probable that Barrett playing for pre-arbitration wages and having options will result in him getting every opportunity to make the 25-man roster out of spring training. Of course, this seemed like the case as the team prepared for the 2018 season as well and Barrett barely spent enough time on the roster to unpack an overnight bag. Thus, it seems likely that Barrett’s future on the big league roster could once again be tied to what sorts of moves Mike Hazen makes during the offseason. If Hazen attempts to fill a few of the bullpen slots with some veteran retreads for a third season in a row, Barrett is likely on the short list to be cut. However, should Hazen look to maximize bullpen flexibility and limit the payroll outlay, then Barrett’s chances of making the 25-man look very good.