Brandon Barriera 2022 MLB Draft Profile

Brandon Barriera
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Brandon Barriera is an 18-year old left-handed pitcher out of American Heritage High School in Plantation Florida. He is an underrated prospect in the 2022 MLB Draft. The Vanderbilt commit sits in the low to mid 90’s with his fastball, and has a slider and changeup with plenty of upside. Barriera’s talent, much like every prospect in the draft, is very raw. He has posted good stat lines, though. He put up a 2.27 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 68 strikeouts in 37 innings. Barriera in an interview with MLB Network described how he grew up idolizing Andy Pettitte and his pitching style. It will obviously take a lot for Barriera to get anywhere near Pettitte’s level of dominance in professional baseball. However, if he keeps up his work ethic and stays healthy, don’t count him out.

Strengths

Barriera’s arsenal of fastball, slider, and changeup are definitely one of his biggest strengths. His fastball has topped out at around 96 mph. For an 18-year old lefty, that’s a very good sign. His slider and changeup have worked well with the fastball, as his arm speed is consistent with each pitch. It goes without saying that Barriera is going to continue to get bigger and stronger as he ages. Expect to see the velocity of his fastball as well as of his off speed pitches increase.

Baseball America had this to say about Barriera. “He’s been up to the 95-96 mph range at peak and sat in the 92-93 mph range in short outings last summer. He throws a slider in the low to mid 80s as well and the pitch gets plus grades, with hard lateral movement and two-plane bite at its best. While he threw a changeup less frequently than his fastball/slider combination, scouts with history on him believe it’s a real weapon that he throws with fastball arm speed and could become an above-average offering. Barriera draws praise for his fiery and competitive demeanor on the mound.” Scouts have also complimented Barriera’s ability to go right after hitters and throw strikes. Confidence is something that can’t be taught, it has to be natural. Through everything scouts have seen, it’s obvious to them that he’s confident in his craft.

Weaknesses

The one thing everyone seems to mention when it comes to Barriera’s weaknesses is his height and weight. He’s listed at 6′ 2″ 180 pounds, which is considered small for a pitcher. But a pitcher doesn’t have to be six foot five and over 200 pounds to dominate. All-time greats such as Fernando Valenzuela and Whitey Ford were both under the six-foot mark. Both were also lefties. Also, as previously mentioned, Barriera is bound to get bigger. Most prospects gain significant muscle through the end of their teenage years, and into their 20’s. If all goes well, Barriera’s weight and height won’t even be a factor in the future.

MLB Comparison

Per MLB.com, longtime scouts have seen some similarities between Barriera and Ron Guidry. Guidry, much like Barriera, was not a big guy. Obviously that did not stop him one bit. Guidry took a while before he became a star. He was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 1971 MLB Draft. He didn’t become a consistent starting pitcher until 1977, which obviously helped lead the Yankees to a World Championship. Though things have obviously changed a lot since the 70’s when it comes to pitching, the idea that a lefty might take a while to find their groove still remains true. Guidry was 26 in 1977 when he became a full time starter. Barriera at 18 has plenty of time to refine his pitches and his delivery. Barriera is projected to be drafted in the first round, and rightfully so. A team just might find a hidden gem in the lefty from Florida.

 

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Players Mentioned:

Andy Pettitte, Fernando Valenzuela, Whitey Ford, Ron Guidry