January 15, 2022

New Detroit Tigers reliever Jacob Barnes thinks he’s figured out solution for MLB return

Jacob Barnes thinks he gets it.

At the very least, the equation to solve his problem.

the Detroit The Tigers signed Barnes, a right-handed reliever, to a contract with the minor leagues on Dec. 1 with an invitation to spring training. The six-year MLB veteran has heard from over a dozen teams. He spoke to the Tigers’ analytical staff and minor league coaches before signing his deal.

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“They were very blunt,” Barnes said on Dec. 8. “When I looked back I had a sense of my mistakes and what caused me the most problems last year, and how I can fix it to eliminate this situation again. seeing who was blunt and who saw similar things to me regarding the reality of what was going on. I didn’t want to hear a sugar story. “

Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Jacob Barnes returns to the mound after giving up a single RBI to Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh inning of a baseball game on Monday, April 22, 2019 in St. Louis. (AP Photo / Jeff Roberson) ORG XMIT: MOJR118

Barnes is no lock to throw for the Tigers in 2022. His return to the major leagues begins during spring training in Lakeland, Fla.

But Barnes is a pitcher the Tigers added for a reason. The front office, analysis department and coaching staff believe he could have an impact, not least because of his combination of fastball and slider.

“Just thinking about it and trying to improve,” Barnes said. “What I’ve done so far is get a little more depth on the slider and probably eliminate the division change or find something that I feel a little more confident in. …. It will mainly be a fastball, a real cutter, and more of a depth slider. “

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Barnes pitched 229 games in six seasons for the Milwaukee Brewers (2016-19), Kansas City Royales (2019), Los Angeles Angels (2020), New York Mets (2021) and Toronto blue jays (2021). He has a 4.61 ERA with 99 walks and 242 strikeouts in 226 innings.

From 2016 to 2018, Barnes posted a 3.54 ERA and 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings in 149 games. The Royals selected him from waivers in August 2019 because the Brewers removed him from the 40-man roster. That year, he finished with a 7.44 ERA in 33 games.

Get to know Barnes

Barnes felt tight hip on the first day of spring training in 2019.

He resisted the pain, which resulted in arm problems. As a result, his fast ball speed increased from 95.3 mph in 2018 to 93.6 in 2019. Barnes found himself on the injured list at the end of June when he could no longer take the pain.

He regrets trying to throw with an injury.

“Both my speed and my drive dropped quite significantly,” Barnes said. “At first I didn’t know much about it. I knew there was pain, but I didn’t know what the real problem was. It ended up being a hip conflict / tear. we finally had an MRI, around mid-season, and it showed. “

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The Royals started rehab, but the COVID-19 pandemic limited him to 18 games with the Angels during the 2020 season. Despite the shortened schedule, Barnes’ body felt healthy again. His fast ball speed jumped to 95.2 mph, and his control – four steps and 24 strikeouts – improved dramatically.

In 2021, Barnes implemented a division change in his arsenal. He recorded a 6.28 ERA with 11 walks and 33 strikeouts in 28 ” in 29 relief games for the Mets (19 games) and Blue Jays (10 games). His fastball hit 98 mph.

“It got me in trouble, in terms of falling behind on the counts and not being able to perform it the way I ideally would like,” Barnes said. “I just did some bad counts trying to throw this as a fourth pitch. It’s part of the development, but in some situations I shouldn’t have shaken. On top of that, I started to learn more. on the throw. “

New York Mets relief pitcher Jacob Barnes reacts after giving Colorado Rockies' Josh Fuentes a three-run homerun in the fifth inning of Game 2 of a baseball doubles program on Saturday, April 17, 2021, at Denver.  (AP Photo / David Zalubowski)

New York Mets relief pitcher Jacob Barnes reacts after giving Colorado Rockies Josh Fuentes a three-run homerun in the fifth inning of Game 2 of a baseball doubles program on Saturday, April 17 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo / David Zalubowski)

The art of pitching is a recent discovery.

Barnes, who threw harder than most of his high school peers, only threw his “good arm” to help St. Petersburg high school against top teams in the district. He’s made pitcher appearances in a few games, so his position as a positional player dominated his high school career. He made it to the Florida Gulf Coast as a two-way player, but threw nothing more than a fastball. And he only threw 113 “during his three-year college career.

“At first I wasn’t really told much about what kind of pitcher I was,” Barnes said. “I just leaned on the lands I had. I wasn’t really developing other lands. That’s what I came up with. And I gave up. Like that’s my thing: I come to you with what I have. “

Based on the scans, the Tigers believe they can unlock a better version of Barnes by adding more depth to his slider and teaching him more about his strengths. Once he has perfected the depth slider, Barnes will consider a fourth step to replace his change of division.

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Barnes is training this winter at Chadwick’s Fitness in Franklin, Tennessee, where he lives during the offseason. He often travels to his hometown near Tampa, where his agent lives and trains at Diesel Fitness.

In Florida, Barnes visits local colleges to throw and get data on his throws. He learns more about how to use his cursor and fastball together as primary weapons, as well as understanding when to mix his cutter.

“During the 2019 season, the hip problem changed the way my body moved back then,” Barnes said. “Then your body adapts. At that point, I lost what I wanted to do with (my cursor).

If all goes according to plan, Barnes could showcase his refined arsenal and full health for the Tigers in 2022.

“I just wanted a real opportunity,” Barnes said. “If I can get to where I need to go, I think I can give myself a really good chance to make the team.… Between what (the Tigers) see and what I see, we both agree that if we’re getting back to that, it’s going to be fine. The results are going to be where they need to be. “

Contact Evan Petzold at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Learn more about the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Why Jacob Barnes Relies On The Detroit Tigers For His Pitching Lessons

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