The MLB Draft will be here before you know it, and it is time to take a look at another budding prospect. Brandon Barriera is a southpaw who attended American Heritage High School in Plantation, FL, and is arguably the best pitcher in the draft. While Brock Porter and Dylan Lesko seem to tower over Barriera, the race isn’t too far off. Vanderbilt is still on the table for the 18-year-old, though the draft is likely to be his next move.
Brandon Barriera, LHP, American Heritage High School
Weight: 165 lbs.
2021 Stats: 3 G, 3 GS, 16 IP, 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 5 BB, 26 SO
2022 Stats: G 8, GS 8, 37 IP, 5-0, 2.27 ERA, 11 BB, 68 SO
American Heritage has played its part in producing major league talent. From Eric Hosmer to up-and-coming first baseman Tristan Casas. Barriera has the potential to be the second pitcher produced by the school to make the big leagues. Only Shaun Anderson (Red Sox) has had the chance to reach the big stage on the mound. Barriera may not blow past his opponents with his 6’1″ frame, however, do not be fooled by his appearance. His knack for pounding the strike zone and well-rounded arsenal are first-round qualities and his stuff will only advance as he shapes into form.
The Brooklyn native practices just three pitches in his arsenal, yet his effortless delivery binds it all together. A fastball sitting in the low-90s (which annexed a bit of a kick in recent appearances) is his forte. Paired with a low-80s slider that works as his punchout pitch and a changeup which is effective but can use an upgrade. His K/BB ratio is impressive and his persistence in the strike zone only demonstrates his value to major league teams. It’s fair to say that the 18-year-old doesn’t have lights-out stuff. Although, the youngster does not get knocked around much. He is reluctant to give in to his opponents and does not surrender when behind in counts.
Teams may be hesitant to uphold their interest in Barriera when he takes the mound. Standing at just 6’1″, the youngster might not hold up as a starter when he reaches the pros. It is a bit early to tell, although the recent grad might settle as a long reliever in the future. Additionally, it won’t hurt to learn a new pitch, assuming the former High School All-American intends to maintain his status as a starter.
Pro Comparison: Nestor Cortes
Cortes, an undersized yet efficient southpaw is the perfect match for the young Barriera. Cortes lasts just five or six innings per outing and consistently wears out the strike zone. His fastball sits in the low-90s along with a cutter which Barriera should consider adding to his repertoire. In any case, the budding left-hander shares several tendencies of Cortes’ game and could develop a similar caliber.
Draft projection: Mid-to-Late First Round
The lefty will likely range in the mix of the first round. While the draft is loaded with top-notch position players and flamethrowers, Barriera’s odds are sky-high. He may not amaze you with his low-90s fastball, but his proficiency and unyielding attitude are something to take note of.
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Main Image Credit: via Imgfl.com