Speedy outfielder Barnes selected by Bucs
Texas Tech star taken with No. 45 pick in compensation round
The Pirates' second pick on the opening night of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft was in interesting contrast to their first.The club used its first-round choice on a highly-touted pitcher who slipped down to them at the overall No. 8 slot -- right-hander Mark Appel, from Stanford University. But when it came time to choose at No. 45 -- their compensation-round slot for the loss of free agent Ryan Doumit to the Twins -- the Pirates raised the stock of a lesser-known outfielder, selecting Barrett Barnes from Texas Tech. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound center fielder -- the Bucs like center fielders, although Barnes projects more into a corner -- is one of the most decorated players in his school's history.
And the three-time All-Big 12 stud can add another feather into that cap: being Texas Tech's highest Draft pick since 1996, when the Tigers chose Matt Miller at No. 41.Barnes was regarded as one of the top power-and-speed collegiate guys in the Draft pool. His talents rose above the mediocre team on which he played, earning his annual All-Big-12 laurels, while the Red Raiders didn't qualify for the conference postseason tournament. Barnes hit .325, with nearly half of his 67 hits for extra bases: 17 doubles, six triples, nine home runs. In addition to 19 steals, he drove in 49 runs and scored 53 in 55 games. His three-year Texas Tech track record earned him Baseball America billing as the 21st-best position player available in the Draft. After going undrafted coming out of Sugar Land (Texas) High School, Barnes made an immediate impact with the Red Raiders. He earned Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors by hitting .341, with 19 doubles and 14 home runs, and driving in 53 runs. His freshman OPS was 1.106. Before the Draft, Barnes was portrayed as a player eager to sign, even with a year of eligibility remaining. That may have played a factor in him being drafted by the Pirates, who could be facing a larger first-round expenditure than they had envisioned with the unexpected availability of Appel. MLB's suggested slot-bonus at No. 45 is $1,136,400. Anything saved in the Barnes negotiations can be used to sweeten the pot for Appel above his slot bonus.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.