PCL notes: Barrett on fast track to D-backs

Right-hander raring to pitch in front of family, friends for home team

In five appearances with the Aces, Jake Barrett has one save and a 3.60 ERA. (Gregory Bull/AP)

By Chris Jackson / Special to MiLB.com | June 30, 2014 10:00 AM ET

Jake Barrett is one phone call away from being back in the place he never wanted to leave.

Barrett was the Arizona High School Player of the Year in 2009 when the Toronto Blue Jays came calling, selecting him in the third round of the Draft.

The right-hander from Desert Ridge High School in Mesa did not come to terms with Toronto, however, and he chose to play at Arizona State instead.

"More than likely I was going to Arizona State [no matter what]," Barrett said. "Get three years of experience in college and get better there. Plus, it was in my home state."

Fast forward to the 2012 Draft when Barrett heard his name called in the third round again. This time around, he was not about to say no to pro ball.

"I was extremely excited," said Barrett, who was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks. "I was just like … growing up in Arizona, the chance to play for your home team was just awesome."

Barrett has moved quickly through the Minors since he was drafted. He began this season at Double-A Mobile, going 1-2 with a 2.39 ERA and 12 saves in 25 games, before the D-backs promoted him to Reno earlier this month.

In five games with the Aces, Barrett has a 3.60 ERA and one save, which he earned in a 2-0 victory over the Albuquerque Isotopes on Saturday night.

Arizona's No. 9 prospect had taken the place of No. 8 Matt Stites, who had been promoted to the Majors for the first time. Now Barrett just has to wait his turn, knowing that the struggling D-backs could be reconfiguring their bullpen through trades in the near future.

"I feel like I've been moving up pretty quick, but I still have to go out there and work hard wherever I'm at," Barrett said. "It hasn't been easy."

One immediate challenge for the right-hander is to readapt himself to the desert air in the Pacific Coast League after his previous 49 appearances, dating back to last season, all came in the humid Southern League.

"I've given up a couple bombs -- the ball does fly," Barrett said. "You've still got to make pitches. Coming back, that's the big difference in what I've experienced so far. The hitters are a little bit better, and because they'll spin on your good pitches, you've got to know when to throw them at certain times."

Barrett has a fastball that can run from 94 to 98 mph. He also has a plus slider and a changeup that he throws less frequently.

Now it's just a matter of waiting his turn to show those pitches in front of family and friends again.

"I'd say I'm almost there, but I still have to go out there [and take it] one pitch at a time," Barrett said. "I'm still having to go out there and work as hard as I can to get better."

In brief

Bear market: Iowa's Kris Bryant made an immediate impact after being promoted from Double-A on June 19 with his first five Triple-A hits all being home runs. Bryant now has five singles and three doubles to go with those homers, giving him a .351 average through 10 games.

Prospects at last: After going through most of the season without any of the Rangers' top prospects, Round Rock finally received a pair via promotions from Double-A Frisco. Right-hander Luke Jackson (No. 5) and third baseman Ryan Rua (No. 19) have joined the Express, with Rua going 3-for-9 with a home run and four RBIs in his first two games.

Catching on: Las Vegas got a new starting catcher this week when Kevin Plawecki was promoted from Double-A Binghamton. Plawecki hit a solo home run at Sacramento in his debut Thursday, though that is his only hit so far in eight at-bats.

Chris Jackson is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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