San Bernardino, California —— At the top of this post, watch our scouting video of Los Angeles Angels right-handed pitching prospect Jaime Barria, taken from an April 17, 2017 start he made for the Inland Empire 66ers against the San Diego Padres High-A California League affiliate Lake Elsinore Storm at San Bernardino’s San Manuel Stadium.
In his outing on Monday, Barria allowed two earned runs on 6.2 innings pitched, giving up just four hits and walking none while striking out six Lake Elsinore hitters.
Jaime Barria scouting report notes
A very young, impressive right-handed pitcher from Panama, Jaime Barria has moved quickly through the Los Angeles Angels’ relatively barren system to this point—he’s rated as their tenth-best prospect by MLB Pipeline—but he’s got the chops that would make him an intriguing prospect in any big league club’s affiliate chain. The righty started the 2017 season with 16 consecutive scoreless innings at Inland, and did it by filling up the strike zone, working on a great downward plane with both his fastball and off-speed pitches, and working very quickly, much to the benefit of his defenders behind him in the field.
Barria’s foundation rests on a fastball that typically sits between 90-93 mph. With his overhand delivery, it’s more or less straight, though it shows a hint of arm-side run with some sink at times. The story here, though, is phenomenal ability to get the fastball on a downward plane as it crosses the plate. He commands it well to both sides of the plate, lives at the knees, and gives hitters fits with that ability to plane it far more than you’d expect from such a conventional pitch and such a young hurler.
The Los Angeles Angels’ prospect complements the fastball with a changeup in the 78-82 mph range, and the pitch (a circle grip) shows good hump with some arm-side fade. It’s a ground ball machine for Barria, who intuitively understands how to use it to get hitters out in front and rolling over on weak ground balls, and it gives him a good look to use on left-handed hitters.
His third pitch, a curveball, isn’t quite as developed as the first two, but it’s a better pitch than some others have noted, in my opinion. Barria throws it hard, and it comes out of his and with the same arm action and plane as his fastball, giving the curve a steep, late drop to the plate. He doesn’t have a nuanced feel for his curve like he does the changeup, but he can use it effectively as a two-strike pitch, he can spike it when needed, and it’s good enough right now to keep right-handed hitters honest and give Jaime Barria a third look as he works deeper into games.
He won’t turn 21 until July 18, so Jaime Barria is well ahead of the curve in Inland Empire to start the 2017 season. Maybe it’s just the obvious Panama connection, but he reminds me a great deal of Texas Rangers prospect Ariel Jurado, who threw in the Cal League with the High Desert Mavericks last year. Barria is a bit less refined than Jurado, but they both tunnel their changeup very well, and they each understand how to sequence hitters in a way more advanced than you expect to see in High-A.
Long term, Barria should move quickly through the Los Angeles Angels’ barren minor league system, and in a best-case scenario, you might find him filling out a #4 or #5 rotation slot by the time he gets to the big leagues around 2019. He’s not a max effort guy at this point, and he hasn’t historically missed a ton of bats across his career, but he has arm strength and he will pick up a bit more velocity as he ages. That combination might make him an intriguing relief candidate down the road if things don’t work out for him as a starter. As hard as his curveball is, more feel and better command of the pitch could help Barria turn it into a true wipeout offering, and that combined with a max effort delivery could give him an interesting bullpen future if he were to ever wash out of a rotation job in the next couple seasons.
To visit Jaime Barria’s player page, please click here.
Jaime Barria scouting report: 140 characters or less
A strike-throwing righty with great downward plane, Jaime Barria is a bright spot in the Angels’ generally underwhelming organization.
Jaime Barria scouting report video
Here’s our full open-faced Jaime Barria video from his April 17, 2017 start against Lake Elsinore, giving a look at his mechanics:
Jaime Barria scouting report GIFs
And here are a few shareable GIFs of Jaime Barria baseball stuff — mechanics and release points during that same April 17, 2017 game for the Inland Empire 66ers: