Barreda Getting The Pro Feel

Barreda has made some quick improvements

Manny Barreda wasn't viewed as a top pitching prospect when the Yankees drafted him in the 12th round this year. And at 5-foot-11 and just 165 pounds coming out of high school, his size was a big reason why. But after getting roughed up in his first two professional starts, Barreda says he's starting to get a feel for the pro game already.

"Things started out rough," Manny Barreda said of his 12.60 ERA after his first two starts. "It was difficult because I came out of high school and I needed to get used to the professional feel. Now that I've worked a little bit harder - the coaches have been working with me - I've been doing a lot better, so everything is going better now."

In fact, things probably could not be going much better for the Arizona native. Since those first two starts, he has gone 5-1 with a 1.59 ERA and has allowed just 20 hits in his last 34 innings. He credits pitching more instead of just throwing for his recent success.

"That I can't overpower people with my fastball," he said as to the biggest lesson he's learned so far. "Everybody throws hard here. It's all about location. In my last few starts, it [my location] has been good. I'm getting the down angle and I'm hitting my spots inside and out. I'm not really throwing it down the middle like I used to be."

One of the things the pitching coaches noticed in the early going was his propensity to drop his arm angle during his motion, leaving his plus fastball a bit flat. That small correction to get him to stay higher has made a huge difference.

"It's not a thing of being comfortable," he said of throwing from the higher angle. "It feels the same to me. It's just throwing strikes, that's what it comes down to. Yeah my elbow was down a little bit lower [before], now that I'm coming up a little bit I feel better. I don't get as tired as I used to."

Able to throw his fastball in the 93-95 MPH range, Barreda says the rapid development his changeup has also helped turned his season around.

"I need to work on my slider for sure," he said of the area he'd like to improve on the most going forward. "I'm getting around it a little bit. My changeup in my last two starts was probably one of my better pitches. I feel comfortable with my changeup."

Recording eleven strikeouts in his last seven innings pitched, including punching out a remarkable four batters in the first inning of his last outing, Barreda says he also has learned that he can get more strikeouts when he's not focused on doing that.

"I'm just focusing on getting quick outs. I have been trying to strike guys out and stuff. It doesn't work out as good as it used to in high school. Just getting quick outs and not focusing too much on getting strikeouts to get people out," he listed as the area he'd like to improve heading into and through Instructs.

Seldom do you find high school pitchers drafted in the 12th round who are eager to sign and start their professional careers immediately, but it was never a question in his mind.

"I just felt like I was ready to go pro," he said with a smile. "My ultimate goal has always been to get to the Major Leagues. If I can start sooner than most guys, I wanted to do it. There are guys here who are 22 and I felt like as an 18-year old, I can better my chances of getting there sooner."

Possessing the desire to improve anyway he can and the work ethic to implement any changes necessary, Barreda has come a long way in a short time already. And with his recent string of success, he believes he is opening some eyes in the organization.

"I'm definitely making a step in the right direction. With my age it will be hard to predict where I'll be next year or anything like that. I just have to keep pitching well and hopefully things will turn out for the better," he concluded.

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