Powered by:
as known from New York Timesas known from USA Todayas known from yahoo!
VA
Contains commercial content
The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Why You Should Feel Comfortable With Matt Barnes as Closer

Why You Should Feel Comfortable With Matt Barnes as Closer

He fits
Publish Date: 03/31/2019
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

The Boston Red Sox won their first game of the season in dramatic fashion, eliminating a five-run deficit thanks in part to a three-run Mitch Moreland blast. Of course, this comeback would not have been possible were it not for the bullpen tossing four scoreless innings of work. Everyone was great, but the star of the night was Matt Barnes. Barnes earned his first save since 2017, closing the game in dominant fashion. This should be the first of many save opportunities for Barnes, and Red Sox fans should have faith in his late-inning ability.

Why Matt Barnes is the Man for the Job

A first impression can have a lasting impact, and perhaps that is why some members of Red Sox Nation are not the biggest fans of Matt Barnes. Barnes first debuted in the majors back in 2014 but wasn’t a full-time member of the major league squad until 2016. Pitching 66.2 innings as a rookie, Barnes recorded an underwhelming 4.05 ERA and a 3.72 FIP. He struck out a solid 9.59 batters per nine innings while walking 4.19 batters per nine innings. These results weren’t great, and many fans remember this version of Matt Barnes when thinking about the current bullpen.

However, Barnes has improved each and every year he’s been in the majors. In 2017, Barnes ERA and FIP dropped to 3.88 and 3.33, respectively. These numbers, while not elite by any means, made him a solid mid-inning arm. However, the former first-round pick brought his game to another level in 2018, recording a 3.65 ERA and a 2.71 FIP. While his walk rate was still a little high, Barnes struck out an absurd 14.01 batters per nine innings. By some measures, Barnes was better in 2018 than star closer Craig Kimbrel.

The High-Leverage Myth

Barnes detractors often point to his underwhelming numbers in high-leverage moments when citing why they’re not comfortable with him as a closer. While Barnes has struggled in high-leverage situations throughout his career, the hard-throwing righty has gotten significantly better over the past few seasons.

Barnes finished the 2018 season with a 6.06 ERA in high-leverage situations as defined by Fangraphs. This is obviously horrible at first glance, but a deeper dive into the numbers shows that Barnes was just hilariously unlucky.

Barnes pitched in 16.1 “high-leverage” innings in 2018. During his time on the mound, the righty struck out 43.5% of the batters he faced. This is obviously fantastic and was a big reason he finished the season with a 1.94 FIP in high-leverage situations. FIP is basically just ERA adjusted for average batted ball luck and, statistically, is a better way to predict future success than ERA. Really, Barnes should have been one of the better high-leverage setup men in baseball, based on the type of contact he allowed.

There are questions with this bullpen, and one good game cannot silence all the doubt. However, Red Sox fans should feel comfortable with Matt Barnes in the ninth inning, as he’s one of the better young relievers in baseball.

Read Also
Esteban de Jesus, Roberto Duran y AIDS (1972-89)
Many of us dream of celebrity sports fame, but only cruel individuals ...
Stories You Should Know: Bill Russell in Game 7’s
Bill Russell: Winner The greatest winner in the history of professional team ...
Bet365 Promo
What if the 1994 MLB Postseason had taken place
The 1994 MLB season was cut short and ended due to a ...
Indiana Basketball Weekly
Welcome to Indiana Basketball Weekly, your dedicated podcast for all things Indiana ...
The Legend of Cincinnati Reds Pitcher Billy McCool
William John McCool, the son of Carl and Delores McCool, was born ...
MLB: Why We’ll Never See a 300-Game Winner Again
  Is the win dead? If not dead, it’s at least on ...
Come Fly with me: How the 1988-89 Chicago Bulls pushed forward to an NBA dynasty.
Find the best sportsbook to bet on the NBA Playoffs! Prologue: By ...
Ranking the top 200 players in the NFL ahead of the 2021 season
This list isn’t based solely on performances from the 2020 NFL season. ...
Top 100 NFL free agents entering the 2021 offseason
Below is a list of the top 100 free agents available this ...
Lady Tyger’s Tale: How Marian Trimiar Mauled the Boxing Establishment of the 1970s and 80s
To Feed the Ambition in Your Heart is Like Carrying a Tiger ...
Latest Sport News
Top 10 One-Hit wonder seasons in Baseball History
This list is for players who had one ...
Top 10 Athletes past the age of 40 All Time: Where does Tom Brady rank?
Most great athletes retire when they reach their ...
2024 NFL Mock Draft 4.0
It's Mock Draft Monday! The NFL Draft is ...
Find out what the legends have to say about sports this week....
Find out what the legends have to say about sports this week....

21+ and present in VA. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER.

This site is using Cloudflare and adheres to the Google Safe Browsing Program. We adapted Google's Privacy Guidelines to keep your data safe at all times.

Close
Players accepted in the US US Flag
Stake.us Exclusive Bonus
$55 Stake Cash + 260K Gold Coins + 5% Rakeback
Promo Code
Copy
Visit Site
T&Cs apply, 18+
Payment Methods
Bitcoin
Litecoin
Ethereum
Dogecoin
Highlights
  • Exclusive promo code: TGTSOCIAL
  • Play Plinko, Hilo, Crash and more!
  • Get Stake Cash bonuses every day!
Stake Originals
Dice
Crash
Plinko
Mines
×
Your Promo Code:
The bonus offer of was already opened in an additional window. If not, you can open it also by clicking the following link:
Visit Site