Aaron Barrett Makes The Opening Day Roster

Scenes From Scottsdale 6
The best slider in the Nationals organization just found a home in D.C.

Along with today’s cuts (Chris Young, Jamey Carroll) and options (Tyler Moore, Ryan Mattheus, and Xavier Cedeno) the Nationals announced that RHP Aaron Barrett will make the Washington Nationals Opening Day roster. Barrett, who was added to the 40-man last November, was considered a dark horse candidate to make the ‘pen but ultimately ticketed for Syracuse.

Instead, he got a couple of breaks (Mattheus injury, for one) and he simply just kept getting guys out. In nine appearances, the 26-year-old allowed just five hits, no walks, and fanned seven in nine appearances totaling 9⅔ innings.

It’s quite the journey for the 2010 ninth-round pick, who nearly flamed out in his first professional year, as chronicled last month by WaPo’s Adam Kilgore, when he posted 0-5 record with a 9.43 ERA in 10 appearances (four starts) while walking 22 in 21 innings (and striking out 25).

After repeating the SS-A level in 2011 with better but not stellar numbers, Barrett put together a career year in 2012. He went from Low-A at the beginning of season to the AFL at the end, spending just six weeks at High-A in between. He got another bump in 2013 and finished second in the Eastern League with 26 saves while striking out 69 in 50⅓ innings.

It remains to be seen whether this is a temporary move (i.e. until Mattheus gets more innings and back into form) but that should not diminish the achievement. Since this site has a fan component, I think I’m allowed to write “Congratulations.”

Author: Luke Erickson

Since 2009, Luke Erickson has been chief writer, editor, and bottle-washer of NationalsProspects.com. Potomac is his home base as a season-ticket holder, but he has visited every affiliate north of Florida at least once, with multiple trips to Hagerstown and Harrisburg.

36 thoughts on “Aaron Barrett Makes The Opening Day Roster”

  1. It seems like Kobernus might have also made it … but I guess we’ll see what kind of moves Rizzo pulls the trigger on before opening day.

    1. 27 year old Tyler Moore should be traded to Houston then let Bo Porter find a way to get him many AB’s.

      1. I completely agree. The Nats should set him free somehow, maybe trading him for some Low A guys we can use later.

      2. Unfortunately, one of the uglier side effects about being a contender is that guys that fringe major-leaguers are put on ice, which usually is a metaphor but not Syracuse in April (hey-o!)

        1. I feel sorry for guys like this. You think you’re a big league and then you get sent to baseball Siberia. I forget who I was speaking with who said they would pretty much rather be in Harrisburg than Syracuse from a lifestyle perspective.

          1. Hmmm … well I guess minor leaguers are often not very adventuresome … albeit I bet that’s not true where Tatusko and his new wife are concerned. In the summer there are few places better than the Finger Lakes which aren’t that far. Camillus township and Skaneateles and its lake are very nice places indeed! Onodoga County’s southwestern end. For night life I guess a college town that features the Syracuse Orangemen might not be enough. Meh … I guess maybe they want NYC?

          2. Good points, peric. While my spirit and family history are definitely southern, it’s still possible to build a baseball life and a family life in Syracuse. I guess I remember all that cold from Boston/Cambridge in college and wish that I never have to deal with it again. Plus, I’m Hoya Saxa in my rooting interests of the college local teams so that gives me a strong anti-‘Cuse bias. I don’t think that I’ll get to see the Chiefs this year, even as a road team on a southern swing, unless my business plans during the summer go much, much better than expected. I think Harrisburg’s my favorite of all the affiliates. Closer to the majors, nice city, nice ballpark, and a lovely drive from DC. I’m against all of those folks who want to move the AA affiliate out of Harrisburg to somewhere farther south. I just hope we can avoid apocalyptic flooding for the forseeable future.

          3. While there are certainly some very nice things to do in Syracuse, I believe that the players have a bit of a different perspective. Many of the the boys from Syracuse who I have talked to, in particular the Latino boys, do not feel accepted and/or comfortable within the Syracuse area. These boys do not feel that the community, overall, has embraced them like the Harrisburg and Woodbridge areas have embraced the AA and High-A teams. I have also heard of several instances where these boys have had run-ins with local authorities mostly because of the way they look. In my opinion, these boys are being profiled because of the way they look and I find that a bit disturbing.

          4. I am always sad when cultural prejudices intrude upon our little corner of baseball heaven. 🙁

          5. Thank you, VaMonarch, for raising that point. I hadn’t heard it before, but it’s important to keep in mind.

          6. Yes, VaMonarch this might be true in certain areas of greater Syracuse. This is blue collar city built up of immigrants mostly from Europe. Italians, Tyrolians (became part of Italy after WWI), Ukrainians, Eastern Europeans … well you get the gist of it. If you go to Israel to the Westbank settlements you’ll find many similar immigrants. They all seem to come with a very high level of xenophobia which gets passed down. Plus upstate NY is more akin to the midwest in their outlook than it is say to areas around NYC. But I doubt this would be true as much around the Finger Lakes or near the University which welcomes students from around the world. There’s a pretty large Latino segment in my home town of Solvay. It all depends. But the sometimes fierce cold of the spring can definitely make a difference in attitude and demeanor I suspect. My mother always hated it and she spent her entire childhood there.

  2. Peric: streaming thoughts :
    Jeffrey is a good name plus the guy
    Has athletic wheels unlike others on bench.
    Time plus performances equals knowledgeable

    1. I’m glad to see Kobernus there, Roark, Barret, and even Leon. Maybe it continues to inspire guys like Tatusko, Komatsu, Rosenbaum, and Garcia? As loaded as the Nats were said they still chose some players who worked their way through their system

      One thing no one ever talks about is his
      makeup. The guy is a natural leader; more of a leader on the field than Desmond. Captain of his college baseball team I think?

      That may have been the clincher in addition to the MLB ready tools you mention. He just might be better in the clubhouse than former Expo Jamey Carroll. Kobernus is going to be more like Williams in his perspective and approach to the game.

  3. Chris Young agent calling Texas now no doubt
    So many bodies @ Syracuse that senators have
    Many repeAters.
    Where did that pirate infielder go on big board ?

  4. Frandsen on board
    Does this spell Syr again for Jeffrey
    Ko ???
    Leon down too to bump Mitch K to AA?
    Jeroloman to AA too?

  5. Luke the wAy this winter has been Syracuse not alone
    In being baseball towns needing to brew coffee @ ballparks

  6. The finalizing of the roster at farm tops
    Could be interesting with Frandsen on board and zuckerman
    Hinting @ Perez exodus from 40 man.
    A couple small moves to clean up the
    Top heavy farm????
    Perez to KC in a deal to satisfy Royals
    With Laird? Maybe get a body back , too??
    Luke – any thoughts before April 3 farm
    Openers ?

  7. Ask and it will be revealed
    Tejeda made bus ride to roger dean today
    Good going kid Caleb vs Carlos 94 mph!

    1. The other shoe falls like blooms off a magnoiia tree …
      Kobernus, Leon now join T-Mo who like Mandela must be set free …
      A bench with power, speed and smart ball grinders …
      Riggleman vindicated but that man sure had blinders!

      1. I’m not feeling all the grit on the bench myself. I’m probably more of a SABR guy than Matty Williams is.

  8. When I visited spring training I heard another reason against Syracuse. It seems the Nationals Minor Affiliates all use host families for players except Syracuse. I heard that from individuals who host in Woodbridge and Harrisburg.

    1. Why do you think that is? Is it because they are closer to the show and are more seasoned veterans with major league experience? Or is it because there is general hospitality to host families?

    2. I’m one of the host families from Potomac. I’ve taken in as many as six boys at one time but I usually host 2-3 at any given time. No player at Potomac has had to pay rent (unless they wanted to) since 2008 so we have a great network of host families at Potomac.

      Harrisburg has a Fan Club (vice a Booster Club) and this fan Club did assist in providing housing for the boys; however, most of the host families in Harrisburg charged rent, sometimes as much $300/month plus one host family required the boys to sign a binding agreement which indicated that they would pay rent for the entire season, even if they departed Harrisburg at some point during the season. As such, several of the boys over the years have contacted me to assist them in trying to find no-cost housing in Harrisburg. Since I love these boys and consider some of them as family, I was happy to assist. I initially tried to coordinate efforts with the Harrisburg Fan Club and also directly with the Senators; however, they were not interested in the experience we brought to the table re: setting up a host family program so, in about 2011, we simply started running advertisements in the local paper about setting up a host family program. I was and am convinced to this day that some people in the Harrisburg area would provide free housing to the boys if they only knew that they could do so. We had a very good response rate from the ads we ran so, right now, I do have a small network of host families that can/will provide free housing for up a total of 8 boys. Still small but growing!! I’ve already coordinated housing for three boys who will be in AA this year and I’ve got a few other leads in process right now.

      Now I don’t want to say anything bad about anyone and/or cause problems but, apparently, the Senators management is not pleased with my efforts and I’m somewhat amazed about that. It turns out that there’s one apartment complex nearby the stadium in Harrisburg that is a heavy advertiser. This place advertises as “The Home of the Senators” and they do provide low-cost assistance to the players and that’s great for the players who want to live in an apartment. What I find interesting though is that the Senator’s management makes a great effort to steer the players to the apartment complex vice trying to assist the boys by coordinating free housing. In fact, the mindset of the Senator’s management (per several folks at Harrisburg who I have talked to) is that these players are big boys who, at this point in their lives, really should start to get out on their own. This is somewhat at odds with the W-Nats management I have talked to many times who have encouraged me to assist the boys in any way that I see fit. Since the boys moving to AA continue to request my assistance, I will do so and I will not apologize for that.

      Re: Syracuse, my eventual plans are to also start a small network of host families up there as soon as my network at Harrisburg is complete.

      Finally, with the move of Hagerstown to Fredericksburg, VA, we will also likely start something at Fredericksburg before I commence work on Syracuse. I believe that boys at the lower end of the organization really do need the assistance more so than the guys at AAA. Since Fredericksburg and Potomac are not that far apart, I can envision a scenario where a boy from Low-A could just stay with their same host family once they get to High-A Potomac – that would really be great.

      I encourage anyone who has the means to do to assist our boys whenever possible. I can assure you that the boys are very grateful and appreciative and they remember who’s helped them over the years. I’ve travelled to the DR and PR to visit boys who have lived with me and meet their families and being a host family is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done and it really has changed my life. Pls contact me directly if anyone wants to get involved with our host family program at any level of the Nats organization.

  9. Luke, how does brass trim 18 everyday guys in Syr??
    Two deals to sew up with a body or cash

  10. This from Kevin Brown in SYR (I wonder if the ask Harris and Scialba to go to Harrisburg?)

    ‘And “taking the field” finally seems like something plausible. There’s snow and ice behind the backstop and in short right field, but other than that, it’s all a beautiful shade of green. In fact, as we speak, head groundskeeper John Stewart and his grounds crew are chipping away at that ice right behind second base. There’s also some sort of rolling heating machine being used on the warning track. (I imagine there’s a more technical term for this, but since I don’t have it, we’ll go with “rolling heating machine”.’

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