Q&A WITH FORMER TEXAS TECH CF BARRETT BARNES (PITTSBURGH PIRATES)
Q&A WITH FORMER TEXAS TECH CF BARRETT BARNES (PITTSBURGH PIRATES) Barnes was the 45th overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft
August 23, 2012
After becoming the third highest Major League Baseball Draft pick in Texas Tech history in June, Barrett Barnes has become an all-star in his first professional season as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.
Barnes, who recently suffered a season-ending injury, was sent to the Class A Short-Season State College Spikes (New York-Penn League) after agreeing to terms on a $1 million signing bonus after being selected 45th overall in the supplemental first round of the 2012 MLB Draft.
Texas Tech Athletics Communications recently caught up with Barnes to take a look back at draft day, becoming a Pirate, what he benefited most from during his experience at Texas Tech and the honor of being named to the New York-Penn League All-Star team.
What was your initial reaction on draft day when you were selected by the Pirates? Barrett Barnes: “I was pick 45, but they called me around pick 38 or 39. We talked and we negotiated and around pick 42, so I knew I would be going at 45 unless someone picked me up before without calling me or anything crazy like that. It's a lot of excitement. My family was there along with some neighbors and some close family friends. It was such a great experience. I am very thankful for it and it'll be a day I never forget”
Once you agreed to the terms, what were the following days like filling out the paperwork and with officially becoming a Pittsburgh Pirate? Barrett Barnes: “It was cool. Pittsburgh was on the road so I didn't get to see a home game. They gave me a tour and took me out to lunch and dinner. I got to see the locker room and all that stuff and then we were up at the suites doing paperwork. Afterwards they put me in a car with a few interns and they took me up to State College.”
What was the reception like once you arrived at State College from teammates and fans? Barrett Barnes: “It was like walking into any other clubhouse. The signing bonus and draft status isn’t as important as you think it would be. Everyone is the same and they all treat you the same. The only difference in treatment is from the organization. The players and teammates and all the guys in the locker room are all treated the same. It doesn't matter how much you signed for or what round you were picked in.”
After playing your first season, what's been the biggest surprise in professional baseball? Barrett Barnes: “I would have to say it’s the stadiums. Some of the stadiums are great. When you think about the lower ranks of minor league baseball like low (Class) A and Short-Season A, you think there might be some bad stadiums, but we actually have really nice facilities and an amazing stadium. A lot of other teams have nice facilities as well. We've been playing John Neely who’s with the Astros and they have an awesome stadium and an awesome backdrop. I was a little surprised but we are definitely playing on pro level facilities.”
How have you been able to continue to do your work outside of the games? Barrett Barnes: “We're not allowed to go in the (batting) cage by ourselves. The instructor you're working with makes sure you get in the work though. We don't do anything by ourselves. Everything is monitored and has to be with a coach no matter what you do. I don't get to do my early work like I used to do. It's something I don't necessarily like, but it's something I have to go through and just need to handle.”
Who are some of the best pitchers you've faced this season? Barrett Barnes: “There's this one kid from the Brooklyn team. I can’t pronounce his name, but his fastball sits around 94-96 and he's got a pretty good breaking ball. I'm pretty sure he had around 100 strikeouts going into the all-star game so that would have to be the best arm I've faced.”
You suffered an injury that will keep you out for the rest of the season. What exactly happened? Barrett Barnes: “It started four and a half weeks ago. I got a stress fracture in my left ankle. The outfield we were playing on hadn't been rolled in years so it was like running on speed bumps and the low tops I was wearing that day didn't really mix and I sprained my ankle. I kept playing on it and playing on it and one weekend it got really bad when we were out in Massachusetts playing the Red Sox. I was going to come out of the game but the backup center fielder also had an injury and was out for the weekend. The other backup outfielder got a concussion so I had no choice but to play on it. I kept pushing it and pushing and eventually something gave and it was my ankle.”
Have any Pittsburgh Pirates fans been reaching out to you? Barrett Barnes: “Not really. Every now and then you have some fans on the road that live in the particular areas. Mahoning Valley has a few Pittsburgh Pirates fans out there that come up to you and ask for autographs and pictures and stuff like that. It's not as much as you would think.”
What was one thing that you took away from playing at Texas Tech that has helped you in your career? Barrett Barnes: “I'd definitely have to say the competition facing the weekend pitching in the Big 12 Conference. The pitchers at Texas and the A&M guys and the Baylor arms were especially tough. You can honestly come into Short-Season A and the competition and the pitching you face on a regular basis is comparable to a Saturday or Sunday starter in the Big 12. There aren’t any Friday-night Big 12 arms in Short-Season A. So having experienced the past three years in the Big 12 has been very beneficial for me.”
What does the rest of the year look like for you heading into 2013 spring training? Barrett Barnes: “I'm out until the middle of September and then we have instructs (Instructional League). I think I go up to instructs September 17th or 18th and I have to do my rehab before I start playing again. So I have to take four and a half more weeks off and then I'll rehab. Hopefully in the very beginning of October I could get back to my rehab while I'm at instructs. After that, I'm at home (Sugar Land, Texas) until the beginning half of March. As far as spring training, the organization hasn’t told me anything yet, but I've heard that things pick up in the first weekend in March.”
How does it feel being named a New York-Penn League All-Star in your first professional season? Barrett Barnes: “I'm blessed and very grateful for the opportunity and it's a great honor. Personally, I wasn't too happy with my start in professional baseball. It could've gone a lot better. I had a lot to prove, which I didn't get a chance to do because of the injury cutting my season short. I'm thankful that what I did was enough to get me the honor of being an all-star. I definitely hope that next season I get to play the entire season and prove to everyone why I was a first-round pick and why I was drafted where I was.”