Boston Red Sox: Matt Barnes has finally reached his potential

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - JULY 04: Matt Barnes #32 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - JULY 04: Matt Barnes #32 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Matt Barnes is a Major League Baseball All-Star for the Boston Red Sox.

A few years ago, no one would have predicted that happening. The tools were always there for Barnes to be a successful relief pitcher, as he is always hitting the upper 90’s on the radar gun and throws a nasty curveball. However, the promising outings were usually followed by moments of frustration due to location issues.

Barnes always had the ability to be flashy and make hitters look silly, but it was also expected that he would give up free passes far too frequently. It was hard to ever fully trust him when he took the mound.

Something changed prior to the 2021 season. Barnes had walked at least five batters per nine innings in both 2019 and 2020. This year, he’s cut that number down to below three. His ERA (2.68) and WHIP (0.865) are career bests by far.

In fact, Barnes is putting up the most impressive numbers he’s ever put up in pretty much any stat you can think of. As a result he has been rewarded with a nod to be on the American League All-Star team.

The Boston Red Sox have a stud closer in Matt Barnes

Matt Barnes has been reliable in securing some tight games for the Red Sox with 19 saves and counting. He has been one of the most important yet overlooked players on the team.

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Typically when thinking of the team’s success this season, the big bats in the lineup come to mind. Of course they deserve recognition, with J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and Rafael Devers being selected to the All-Star game as well. With that said, the bullpen is also a big reason why the Sox have been so good this season, and Barnes is one of the main factors in that equation.

Expectations were high for Barnes initially, as he was a first round pick in 2011. His first full season was 2015 and he struggled immensely, but gradually improved as the years went by. Prior to 2021 he proved that he is a solid bullpen arm, but it felt like he had reached his ceiling.

That’s not exactly what a team is searching for in the first round, but Barnes is finally making that pick pay off 10 years later. Better late than never, right?

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It seems like the Boston Red Sox are a team that could make a World Series push. In order for them to do that, Matt Barnes needs to remain on top of his game.