Matthew D. Barnes
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 4", Weight 203 lb.
- School University of Connecticut
- High School Bethel High School
- Debut September 9, 2014
Matt Barnes was a first-round pick in the 2011 amateur draft.
Barnes was All-State as a senior in high school. As a college freshman at the University of Connecticut, he was 5-3 with a save, a 5.43 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 53 innings. That summer, he had a 1-3, 4.78 record for the Wareham Gatemen, striking out 33 in 26 1/3 innings. As a sophomore in 2010, he improved to 8-3, 3.92. He made All-Big East Conference, joining Corey Baker, Neil Holland and Thomas Royse as the pitchers chosen. He started the summer back in the Cape Cod League, going 1-2 with a 2.18 ERA, 12 hits and 20 K in 20 2/3 innings for Wareham. Baseball America rated him as the #3 prospect in that elite loop, behind Anthony Ranaudo and UConn teammate George Springer, just ahead of Wareham teammate Jed Bradley. He then joined Team USA, going 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA. He was excellent in his lone outing in their big event, the 2010 World University Championship, with 3 hits, 1 walk and 8 whiffs in 7 shutout innings against Canada. The United States won the Silver Medalists.
Barnes continued to blossom as a junior, with a 11-5, 1.93 record, .187 opponent average and 117 strikeouts in 121 innings. He was named the Big East Pitcher of the Year. He was picked by the Boston Red Sox 19th overall in the 2011 amateur draft, the second-highest UConn pick ever after Springer 8 choices before (Mike Olt at #49 in 2010 had held the mark before). The choice was compensation for the loss of Víctor Martínez to free agency. In his next outing, in the Super Regionals, Matt was shredded for 8 hits and 5 runs in 4 1/3 IP in a loss to the University of South Carolina to raise his ERA from 1.62 to his final 1.93. He finished second in Huskies history in strikeouts. He signed for a $1.5 million bonus. The scout was Ray Fagnant.
Barnes made his pro debut with the Greenville Drive with a stellar showing against the Lakewood BlueClaws on April 8, 2012. He allowed two hits and two walks in five shutout innings while fanning nine for the win.
He reached the major leagues with the Red Sox when rosters expanded in September of 2014 and pitched 5 times with no decisions and an ERA of 4.00. In 2015, he split his time between the minors and the majors. With Boston, he pitched 32 times, with two of the outings being starts, and went 3-4, 5.44 while logging 43 innings. Things went a lot better in 2016 as he settled in as one of the set-up men for new closer Craig Kimbrel while the team found itself among the three teams fighting for the AL East crown. On August 9th, he earned his first career save under stressful circumstances, as Kimbrel had just loaded the bases against the New York Yankees in the 9th inning and had walked in a run to cut Boston's lead to 5-3. Barnes took over for him and struck out Mark Teixeira to end the game and preserve Rick Porcello's 15th victory of the year.
On April 24, 2017, he was handed a four-game suspension for having thrown a ball at Manny Machado's head a day earlier. The incident had come at the end of a etnse series between the Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles, with the Sox blaming Machado for a violent [[slide]¸that had injured 2B Dustin Pedroia.
Barnes throws his fastball in the mid-90s.