Throughout the years the Milwaukee Brewers, have been very fortunate when it comes to finding shut ’em down relievers for the back end of their bullpen. Rollie Fingers is an early example. The Hall of Famer won the Cy Young award and the American League MVP award in 1981. Now, it seems that the Brewers may have found the next dominant reliever in Jacob Barnes.
When you look back to about ten years ago, Solomon Torres is one of the first high leverage relievers that springs to mind. The Milwaukee Brewers also had the likes of Fransico Cordero, John Axford, Jim Henderson and Francisco Rodriguez anchoring their bullpen. All of them posted ERAs of a 3.70 or lower during their time in Milwaukee. Barnes is on pace to be better than almost all of them, and give Rollie a run for his money.
The recent emergence of Jacob Barnes is quite a fascinating spectacle, as he not only has a devastating fastball that he throws effortlessly in the upper 90s, but he also has what he calls a cutter, or slider that he can throw at an impressive velocity of 90 to 93 MPH. When he is able to control this pitch and keep it low he is absolutely untouchable.
So far Barnes’ control has been impeccable, as he owns a perfect 0.00 ERA in 10 innings of work with 12 strikeouts and only four walks.
The fact that Barnes is only in his second season is all the more impressive. At only 27 years old, he is already looking like he has supplanted Corey Knebel as the closer in waiting, and appears primed to make a run at the closer’s role in the near future.
The only obstacle in his way of assuming the role in the ninth inning is current Brewers closer, Neftali Feliz, but once the closer role has a vacancy, Barnes is definitely next in line.
The only aspect he needs to develop further is his ‘closer’s mentality’. Once his mindset is ready he will be able to put the game on his shoulders and be the hammer to put the final nails in the coffin at the end of games for the Milwaukee Brewers.
It will be interesting to see how Barnes develops in the coming months, but for now, he looks like he is getting ready to emerge as the next great closer in Milwaukee.