Matt Barnes
Matt Barnes
31-Year-Old PitcherRP
Boston Red Sox
2021 Fantasy Outlook
The veteran right-hander began 2020 in a setup role in front of Brandon Workman, but he took over as closer after Workman was traded in August. Barnes had a 4.30 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 30.4% strikeout rate and 13.7% walk rate and ended up going 9-for-13 in save opportunities with four holds. The strikeouts continue to be a strength and walks a weakness, and he got worse in both categories during the shortened season. Home runs were also a big issue, as the 1.57 HR/9 was his highest since 2015. Barring an acquisition in free agency, Barnes is the favorite for the closer's gig entering spring training and has the strikeouts to provide significant value, but his high walk rate limits that potential for both the Red Sox and fantasy managers. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
#217
ADP
$Signed a two-year, $18.75 million contract extension with the Red Sox in July of 2021.
Throws inning Friday
PBoston Red Sox
September 18, 2021
Barnes allowed one hit and one walk while striking out two over a scoreless eighth inning in Friday's 7-1 win over Baltimore.
ANALYSIS
Barnes made his first appearance since coming off the COVID-19 injured list and was given a soft landing spot for the occasion. He had issues throwing strikes, running the count full on the first three batters and needing 28 pitches (16 strikes) to close out the inning. Barnes eventually escaped unscathed, but it wasn't the type of performance one expects from a closer. The Red Sox will likely utilize him in low-leverage situations until he can regain the form he showed over the first four months of the season.
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Pitching Stats
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2021
2020
2019
2018
2017
2021 MLB Game Log
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2020 MLB Game Log
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2019 MLB Game Log
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2018 MLB Game Log
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2017 MLB Game Log
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Pitching Appearances Breakdown
Average Pitch Count
15
Last 10 Games
17
Last 5 Games
18
How many pitches does Matt Barnes generally throw?
 
1-10
 
11-20
 
21-30
 
31-40
 
41-50
 
51-60
 
61-70
 
71-80
 
81-90
 
91-100
 
101-110
 
111-120
 
121+
 
1-10
 
11-20
 
21-30
 
31-40
 
41-50
 
51-60
 
61-70
 
71-80
 
81-90
 
91-100
 
101-110
 
111-120
 
121+
 
1-10
 
11-20
 
21-30
 
31-40
 
41-50
 
51-60
 
61-70
 
71-80
 
81-90
 
91-100
 
101-110
 
111-120
 
121+
What part of the game does Matt Barnes generally pitch?
 
 
 
1st
 
 
 
2nd
 
 
 
3rd
 
 
 
4th
 
 
 
5th
 
 
 
6th
 
 
 
7th
 
 
 
8th
 
 
 
9th
 
Extra
 
 
 
1st
 
 
 
2nd
 
 
 
3rd
 
 
 
4th
 
 
 
5th
 
 
 
6th
 
 
 
7th
 
 
 
8th
 
 
 
9th
 
Extra
 
 
 
1st
 
 
 
2nd
 
 
 
3rd
 
 
 
4th
 
 
 
5th
 
 
 
6th
 
 
 
7th
 
 
 
8th
 
 
 
9th
 
Extra
% Games Reaching Innings Threshold
% Games By Number of Innings Pitched
Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2019
 
 
-29%
BAA vs LHP
2021
 
 
-33%
BAA vs LHP
2020
 
 
-33%
BAA vs LHP
2019
 
 
-25%
BAA vs LHP
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2019vs Left .166 236 94 43 31 4 0 5
Since 2019vs Right .233 354 127 27 75 11 0 14
2021vs Left .153 73 26 12 9 2 0 2
2021vs Right .228 130 54 6 28 3 0 5
2020vs Left .167 47 18 9 6 0 0 0
2020vs Right .250 55 13 5 12 1 0 4
2019vs Left .174 116 50 22 16 2 0 3
2019vs Right .232 169 60 16 35 7 0 5
More Splits View More Split Stats
Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2019
 
 
-3%
ERA on Road
2021
 
 
-39%
ERA on Road
2020
 
 
-87%
ERA at Home
2019
 
 
-27%
ERA on Road
ERA WHIP IP W L SV K/9 BB/9 HR/9
Since 2019Home 3.91 1.28 69.0 4 4 15 14.2 4.0 1.0
Since 2019Away 3.78 1.28 69.0 8 8 22 14.6 5.1 1.4
2021Home 4.40 1.14 30.2 2 2 11 12.9 2.6 1.2
2021Away 2.70 1.00 20.0 4 3 13 16.2 4.1 1.4
2020Home 0.90 0.90 10.0 1 0 3 11.7 5.4 0.9
2020Away 6.92 1.77 13.0 0 3 6 12.5 5.5 2.1
2019Home 4.45 1.55 28.1 1 2 1 16.5 5.1 1.0
2019Away 3.25 1.25 36.0 4 2 3 14.5 5.5 1.3
More Splits View More Split Stats
Stat Review
How does Matt Barnes compare to other relievers?
This section compares his stats with all relief pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 30 innings)*. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.

* Exit Velocity, Barrels/BBE %, Balls Hit 95+ MPH %, and Spin Rate are benchmarked against 2019 data (min 30 IP). See here for more exit velocity/barrels stats plus an explanation of current limitations with that data set.
  • K/BB
    Strikeout to walk ratio.
  • K/9
    Average strikeouts per nine innings.
  • BB/9
    Average walks per nine innings.
  • HR/9
    Average home runs allowed per nine innings.
  • Fastball
    Average fastball velocity.
  • ERA
    Earned run average. The average earned runs allowed per nine innings.
  • WHIP
    Walks plus hits per inning pitched.
  • BABIP
    Batting average on balls in play. Measures how many balls in play against a pitcher go for hits.
  • GB/FB
    Groundball to flyball ratio. The higher the number, the more likely a pitcher is to induce groundballs.
  • Left On Base
    The percentage of base runners that a pitcher strands on base over the course of a season.
  • Exit Velocity
    The speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.
  • Barrels/BBE
    The percentage of batted ball events resulting in a Barrel. A Barrel is a batted ball with similar exit velocity and launch angle to past ones that led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage.
  • Spin Rate
    Spin Rate is the rate of spin on a baseball after it is released. It is measured in revolutions per minute (rpm).
  • Balls Hit 95+ MPH
    The percentage of batted balls hit that met or exceeded the 95 MPH threshold.
  • Swinging Strike
    The percentage of pitches that result in a swing and a miss.
K/BB
4.44
 
K/9
14.2
 
BB/9
3.2
 
HR/9
1.2
 
Fastball
96.0 mph
 
ERA
3.73
 
WHIP
1.09
 
BABIP
.323
 
GB/FB
1.05
 
Left On Base
70.8%
 
Exit Velocity
81.9 mph
 
Barrels/BBE
4.2%
 
Spin Rate
2205 rpm
 
Balls Hit 95+ MPH
20.9%
 
Swinging Strike
14.2%
 
Advanced Pitching Stats
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Defensive Stats
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Stats Vs Today's Lineup
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Matt Barnes
Collette Calls: Chasing Wins Down the Stretch
9 days ago
Jason Collette has advice for fantasy managers chasing wins down the stretch: focus on relievers.
MLB FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week
17 days ago
Jason Shebilske analyzes the top waiver-wire options of the week, including Boston's Bobby Dalbec, who's been one of the hottest hitters in baseball recently.
Mound Musings: See You in September
17 days ago
Brad Johnson discusses which pitchers might be worth having on your team for the final month of the season, including Miami’s Edward Cabrera.
AL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week
21 days ago
Erik Siegrist sifts through the available talent in the American League for the last free-agent period before September callups, as Corey Kluber prepares to return to the mound.
Collette Calls: September Matters
24 days ago
Jason Collette shows how even if your team isn't in contention for a league title, you can still make an impact in your league.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
2020
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
If Barnes could reduce his walk rate, he would be an elite closer. As is, he is an elite reliever because he generates more strikeouts than some starting pitchers do with his nasty breaking ball and fastball and is tough to hit. His strikeout rate has improved each of the past five seasons, and the elite strikeout rate is what helps offset the damage the walks would normally lead to for another reliever who pitches in high leverage as often as Barnes does. However, as great as Barnes' stuff is, he still had 1.4 runners on base every inning last year, and closers cannot live long with those types of ratios. Boston's undoing in 2019 was its bullpen, and even then, Barnes got just four saves as the Red Sox tried in vain to replace Craig Kimbrel. He is one skill away from tripling his fantasy value, but he's been in that situation for three seasons now. Draft him more for what he is than what he could be.
Unless you play in a league scoring holds, you likely aren't familiar with Barnes' exploits last season. Not only did he register 25 holds, tied for eighth-most in the league, he punched out 96, tying him for ninth among relievers. Barnes would have ranked higher had he not missed most of September with hip inflammation. Barnes' season was fueled by an impressive, career-best 14.5 SwStr%. However, the swing and miss came at a cost as Barnes' control suffered, resulting in a 12.7% walk rate, fueling a high 1.26 WHIP. The Red Sox bullpen is in flux, but it's tough to see them entering the season with Barnes in the ninth. Middle relievers have become increasingly relevant in the current fantasy landscape, and a player like Barnes can be useful. Best of all he should be affordable since his cost is kept in check with few expecting he will ever graduate to ninth-inning duties.
For the second straight season, Barnes led the Red Sox's bullpen in innings with 69.2, recording 21 holds, the most on the club. The hard-throwing right-hander improved his strikeout rate to 28.9 percent while dropping his walk rate to a still-high 9.8 percent. Bagging his changeup while throwing his slider and curve more helped garner more swinging strikes. Barnes pitched a little better than his 3.88 ERA as evidenced by a 3.27xFIP and 3.33 FIP. One reason is a bloated 14 percent HR/FB. On the surface, it appears Barnes faded late, registering a 5.39 ERA in September, but a 2.39 xFIP suggests otherwise. For the month, Barnes peripherals were an eye-popping 15.8 K/9 and 0.9 BB/9. He was victimized by three long balls in 9.2 innings, so don't sweat the perceived swoon. With Craig Kimbrel handling the ninth, Barnes returns to the primary setup role.
Barnes was a full-time reliever in 2016 after pitching as both a starter and reliever in 2015 -- he admitted to problems going back and forth between the two roles. In the bullpen, Barnes was Boston's leader in innings (66.2 over 62 games) and showed improvement, dropping his HR/9 rate while striking out 9.6 batters per nine innings. While his 4.05 ERA doesn't scream effective relief, it was skewed by an awful month of August (10.13 ERA in 13 appearances). And he showed some moxie, bouncing back in September, posting a 1.29 ERA over his final 10 outings. Apart from the one bad month, Barnes was a trusted member of the bullpen. His power fastball can be a weapon, but he'll need to command it better (4.2 BB/9). Boston's bullpen has some moving pieces but Barnes will be back in 2017, pitching in a middle-relief role.
Barnes served the organization as both a starter and reliever in 2015. In 43 innings at the major league level, Barnes permitted 56 hits, 28 runs and nine homers (nearly two per nine innings). Being yanked between roles didn’t help, and Barnes admitted difficulty in transitioning from a career starter to first-time reliever — he didn’t know when to throw his secondary stuff and never got to work on those pitches like a starter would do between starts. He would often fall behind hitters, who were waiting on his fastball. A midseason return to Triple-A Pawtucket as a starter proved to be beneficial. He got to work on pitches and improve his fastball command. When he returned to Boston as a reliever in September, Barnes allowed just one run in 10.1 innings. The plan for him in 2016 is to pitch solely as a reliever, and he’s got the power arm that will play in the bullpen, possibly as a late-inning reliever.
Barnes had a late start to the season after a sore shoulder cropped up in spring training. Once he got on the field for Triple-A Pawtucket, it looked like the shoulder was still an issue as Triple-A hitters easily handled him. Barnes wasn't commanding his pitches consistently, particularly his average secondary stuff, limiting the effectiveness of his plus fastball. It came together for him in the second half when he walked fewer batters and elicited more swings-and-misses. Despite the late start to the season, Barnes bumped up his innings count. It was also promising to see his fastball velocity increase toward the end of the season. He earned himself a September callup to Boston and worked out of the bullpen during the final month of the season. The Red Sox still consider him a starter with a three-pitch mix, so don't expect Barnes to receive consideration for a place in the Boston bullpen on Opening Day. A return to Triple-A is likely for Barnes, who will continue to work on the secondary stuff (curveball and changeup) while developing the mix needed to get through orders multiple times. With Brandon Workman moving to the bullpen full-time and the trades of Allan Webster and Rubby De La Rosa, Barnes moves to the top of the list of depth starters for Boston.
Barnes opened the 2013 season at Double-A Portland following a dominant stretch at both levels of A-ball in 2012. The move up turned out to be a stern test for Barnes, whose pitch efficiency suffered against advanced hitters. His BB/9 rate increased from 2.2 to 3.8 between the two levels and he averaged just 4.5 innings per start. The 6-foot-4 righty was hurt by big innings and an inconsistent ability to throw his secondary stuff for strikes. He finished out his season with a promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket, where his one start was a successful one. The key for Barnes entering 2014 is throwing his secondary offerings for strikes. He commands his low-to-mid 90s fastball well, but neither the changeup nor curveball are considered above average at this point.
Barnes quickly became Boston's top pitching prospect in 2012, moving through the Low-A South Atlantic League in just one month before being promoted to High-A Salem. As we have seen before with top pitching prospects, they can get by with a good heater in Low-A, but the need to establish secondary offerings, like a changeup and curveball, is the key to continue their ascent. After his promotion, he was definitely challenged more by the advanced hitters. Barnes logged 119.2 innings in his first professional season, and the organization will build off that. Continued work on the secondary pitches is Barnes' main objective entering 2013, which will likely start at High-A.
Barnes was taken in the first-round of the pitching-rich 2011 draft with the 19th overall pick by the Red Sox. As a college pitcher at the University of Connecticut, the Red Sox had ample opportunity to scout him. Because he signed close to the deadline, Barnes didn't make his professional debut last year, so he might be a smidge behind some of his contemporaries. But he's also polished enough to advance pretty quickly through the lower levels of the minors. He frequently works in the 93-95 mph range with his fastball and he throws four pitches (fastball, change, curveball, slider) regularly.
More Fantasy News
Returns from COVID list
PBoston Red Sox
September 17, 2021
Barnes (illness) was activated from the COVID-19 injured list ahead of Friday's game against Baltimore.
ANALYSIS
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Tracking toward Friday return
PBoston Red Sox
Illness
September 15, 2021
Barnes is scheduled to make a rehab appearance for Triple-A Worcester on Wednesday and is expected to be activated from the COVID-19 injured list Friday, Bill Koch of The Providence Journal reports.
ANALYSIS
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Activation expected Wednesday
PBoston Red Sox
Illness
September 14, 2021
Barnes (illness) is expected to be activated from the COVID-19 injured list prior to Wednesday's game against the Mariners, Bill Koch of The Providence Journal reports.
ANALYSIS
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Could return next weekend
PBoston Red Sox
Illness
September 11, 2021
Barnes (COVID-19) could rejoin the Red Sox next weekend against the Orioles, Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic reports.
ANALYSIS
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Tossing bullpen Friday
PBoston Red Sox
Illness
September 10, 2021
Barnes (illness) will throw a bullpen session Friday, Chris Cotillo of The Springfield Republican reports.
ANALYSIS
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