Tampa Bay Rays: Getting to know 96th overall pick RHP, Hunter Barnhart
By Seth Carter
The Tampa Bay Rays used their fourth pick of the 2020 draft on right-handed pitcher Hunter Barnhart out of St. Joseph High School (CA). Let’s get to know him.
The Tampa Bay Rays used their third-round pick (96th overall) on Hunter Barnhart.
Tampa Bay Rays, Ian Seymour – Scouting Report
Here is MLB.com’s scouting grades (20-80 scale). A score of 50 is considered major-league average.
The two-sport standout was the MVP of his high school league as the team’s quarterback, but he has chosen to move forward with a professional career in baseball.
He is adept at keeping hitters off-balance by balancing his fastball, which can occasionally reach up to 96 mph but sits in the early 90s. He also brings a wicked 77-80 mph curve and a changeup that can run as slow as 81 mph.
His curveball is his best pitch with plus rating at just 18-years-old. He credits his father for teaching him the curveball, which he’s been throwing since he was 16…which was like two years ago.
"“It’s a pitch I’m very confident in.”"
Here’s a great view of his stuff from behind the plate.
Barnhart was ranked as high as the 62nd-overall player in the draft by Baseball America and was the second high school player selected by the Rays through three rounds in a draft that saw mostly college players taken, due to the unusual circumstances.
Tampa Bay Rays – Barnhart Signs Contract
Barnhart appeared anxious to get his pro-career started, despite already committing to Arizona State University. On Friday, any questions about his future were answered as he signed a $585,000 contract, officially beginning his professional career.
Entering his senior season, he made a commitment to baseball. With that in mind, he increased his fastball velocity and polished up his already stellar curveball.
Scouts packed in behind the backstop for his 11 innings before the pandemic wiped out the rest of his senior season. He didn’t disappoint, striking out 18 batters and posting a 0.64 ERA over two starts.
We look forward to watching this standout athlete’s progression within the Rays’ system! What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!