What Kyle Barraclough could bring to Padres other than a cool name

We take a look at what relief pitcher Kyle Barraclough could bring to the San Diego Padres bullpen during the 2020 season.

The San Diego Padres took a chance on a once-promising reliever recently by signing Kyle Barraclough to a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first, the right-handed reliever brings great name notoriety to the team.

If he were to make the roster can you imagine the fun we could have with the name Barraclough? And the money the team could make by selling bear claws at the game?

But the 29-year-old is a long way from getting that type of attention at the Major League level.

The former seventh-round draft pick by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012 made his debut with the Miami Marlins in 2015 and put together three really good seasons with an ERA of three or lower in his first three seasons.

He was unbelievable in 2016 with an ERA of 2.85 and 113 strikeouts in 72.2 innings.

But even then he struggled with walks and has a career BB/9 of 5.5.

Those walks, combined with the uptick in home runs, have really plagued him the past two seasons.

In his first two seasons he only gave up a combined 2 home runs in almost 100 innings. But in the past two seasons he’s given up 17 home runs in almost 90 innings.

When you have a K/9 over 10, as Barraclough does, you can get away with walks from time-to-time. But when you couple those walks with home runs it can get ugly in a hurry.

Perhaps moving to a more spacious ballpark could help.

There is no question that Barraclough possesses high-quality stuff with a fastball that has dropped in velocity but can still get up to the mid-90s.

It was his slider that made him so effective in his first three seasons and he used it almost half the time. For some reason he’s decreased that to less than 30 percent the past two seasons and increased his change-up.

Perhaps it’s time to ditch the change-up and stick to being a two-pitch pitcher.

Next: Time to extend Yates ... or trade him?

This is a low-risk signing that could pay huge dividends. It’s hard to believe Barraclough will suddenly fix his command issues, but if he could get his BB/9 closer to 3 and keep his K/9 rate around 11 he’d become one of the top relievers in the league again.

 

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