The Yankees shed another veteran Monday, trading right-hander Shawn Kelley, who made 116 appearances for the club the last two seasons, to the San Diego Padres for Johnny Barbato, a right-handed relief prospect.
Barbato, 22, was drafted in the sixth-round of the 2010 selections by the Padres. He is 12-13, 3.79 in 139 appearances at four levels of the San Diego organization. There 6-foot-2, 185-pound Barbato is a native of Miami and was 2-2, 2.87 with 16 saves at Class-AA San Antonio in 2014. He was 3-6, 5.01 with 14 saves at Class-A Lake Elsinore in 2013.
He has velocity – reaching 97 with a fastball that sits at 94 out of the bullpen. Barbato also throws a knuckle-curve that has picked up strikeouts – his career strikeout/walk ratio is 256-105. He also throws a decent changeup.
The Yankees do like hard-throwers, which likely attracted their attention. He also has shown better-than-average control. The only red flag here is a report that he might need Tommy John Surgery. He was shut down in June with elbow issues. For now, he is on the Double-A Trenton roster.
He joins lefties Jacob Lindgren, Tyler Webb and James Pazos and righties Danny Burawa, Branden Pinder and Nick Rumbelow in the Yankees’ stable of young relievers. The Yankees also obtained left-handed reliever Justin Wilson from Pittsburgh for Francisco Cervelli in an earlier trade.
Barbato has been compared to Tommy Kahnle, who the Yankees lost to Colorado in the 2013 Rule 5 Draft.