Chicago Cubs: Three low-level prospects to keep an eye on

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 27: The main scoreboard in centerfield is seen after a game between the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on June 27, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 27: The main scoreboard in centerfield is seen after a game between the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on June 27, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs: Sean Barry, RP, South Bend Cubs

Our first guy for fans to watch heading into next season is 24-year-old reliever Sean Barry, a 21st round pick in the 2017 Amateur draft. Barry bounced around the college game, beginning his career at High Point University in the Big South Conference. As a 19-year-old, Barry threw 11 2/3 scoreless innings of relief with a 13.11 K/9 rate.

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The following year Barry joined the staff at Santa Barbara City College, where he finished 10-3 with a 1.29 ERA across 16 starts. He struck out 107 batters in 111 innings. Over the next two years, Barry struggled at the University of San Diego, posting a 4.88 ERA in his junior year and a 4.43 ERA in his senior season.

In his first season in professional baseball, Barry saw almost no action. He pitched just three innings and posted a 6.00 ERA. In 2018, after moving to Low-A Eugene, Barry dominated. In 24 games, the lanky right-hander posted a 1.77 ERA in 35 2/3 innings. While the walk rate was wildly high at 13.9 percent, the strikeout rate was a solid 29.2 percent. Barry also held opposing hitters to just a .187 average.

This past season Barry took a huge step forward in his development. At South Bend, Barry saw 45 1/3 innings of action, posting a 2.38 ERA with a much improved 2.70 FIP and 3.01 xFIP. The strikeout rate dropped to 27.2 percent; however, Barry’s walk rate also improved, lowering to 8.4 percent.

Per Baseball Cube, Barry’s strikeout talent rate ranks in the upper percentile. If he can continue to develop his repertoire, he can turn into the type of arm the Cubs desperately need moving toward the future.

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