POSITION: Left-handed starting pitcher
BORN ON: December 19, 1986
AGE: 21 years old
BORN IN: Marion, Illinois
WEIGHT: 180 pounds
SCHOOL: John A. Logan College in Illinois
ACQUIRED: Drafted in the 31st round of the June 2006 draft; signed in 2007 as a draft-and-follow player
STATISTICSClick here for Barrett's 2007 minor league stats
SCOUTING REPORTThe Braves originally picked Barrett in the 31st round of the 2006 draft, but they followed him his sophomore season at John A. Logan Junior College in Illinois. Barrett was outstanding, going 8-1 in 12 games (nine starts) with a 2.25 ERA. He allowed 48 hits in 64 innings, 16 earned runs, 23 walks, and 93 strikeouts.
Atlanta signed him in late May and he started his pro career in the Gulf Coast League. Barrett did very well in Orlando, posting a 1.36 ERA in eight games (five starts), with 11 walks, and 46 strikeouts in 33 innings pitched. The Braves really didn't have much room at Danville, but they still promoted Barrett up to the Appy League where he immediately contributed. Barrett allowed only six earned runs in 23.2 innings pitched for a 2.28 ERA, nine walks, and 25 strikeouts.
So here are Barrett's combined stats between his junior college season and his time in the GCL and Danville: 11-3, 2.02 ERA, 95 hits allowed in 120.2 innings, 27 earned runs, 43 walks, and 164 strikeouts.
Despite all the innings, Barrett gave the Danville team some quality starts when he got into the Appy League late in the season. He had starts of 6.0 innings, 6.1, and 5.2. His last start may have been his best, when he struck out nine and walked only one as he allowed one run on two hits in 5.2 innings on August 27th.
The Braves are warning everyone to not forget about Eric Barrett. Yes, Cole Rohrbough and the ‘three lefties' (Jeff Locke, Steve Evarts, and Chad Rodgers) have gotten more attention so far, but Barrett should fit right in there.
Barrett is somewhat of a slinger. At times he can show a little Steve Avery-type arm action. The Braves still want to refine Barrett's mechanics, and that'll happen this spring. Continued work on his delivery will eventually result in better command.
The stuff is solid. Barrett has a plus fastball that ranges from 91-94 mph. The fastball has good movement. He's got a sharp breaking ball. It just lacks consistency right now, but the Braves think it can be a strikeout pitch. And Barrett's changeup is good, but it's still a work in progress.
The Braves absolutely love Barrett's competitiveness. He goes right at guys and will not back down. He's a tough kid who is aggressive on the mound. The team needs to see him in a spring training and with a full-season team before knowing more about what they have, but right now they are very excited about Barrett's potential.
2008 OUTLOOKThe Braves are going to have some unbelievable competition for the Rome rotation this spring. Barrett should be right in the mix, but the Braves might decide to let him go back to Danville and then end the season in Rome. If Barrett does return to the Appy League, he'll be Danville's top starter. But the Braves really believe he can compete for a job in Rome and hold his own in the South Atlantic League. It will be interesting to see where Barrett lines up with the other top lefty starters at the end of his first full season.
ADDITIONAL STORY LINKSThe Braves Show: Braves get two more draft-and-follow players
Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. Email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.