Wednesday, August 20, 2014

UNC Charlotte standout Tyler Barnette, now with Knights, has arm worth watching

Lost in the madness that’s been Carlos Rodon’s promotion and subsequent debut with the Charlotte Knights has been the arrival of another talented local arm in uptown Charlotte.

While Rodon led the N.C. State Wolfpack to a College World Series and went on to be selected by the White Sox third overall in this year’s Major League Draft, Tyler Barnette – a 14th round selection in the 2013 draft out of UNC Charlotte – has taken a slightly different path.

“I wish there had been a camera on me so I could have seen my face,” Barnette said when asked what it was like to get the news he’d been promoted from Class A Kannapolis to the Knights this past Sunday.

Intimidators’ manager “Pete Rose Jr. called me in the office and just said, ‘Hey, you’re going to Charlotte,’” Barnett continued. “I was very shocked, but it was a good time.”

A native of Hickory, NC, Barnette, 22, was 2-8 with one save and a 5.08 ERA for the Intimidators in 25 games (11 starts) this season. However, since transitioning to the bullpen, Barnett had posted a 1.51 ERA in 14 appearances (35.2 IP) with 29 strikeouts.

“I feel like I’ve had more success because in relief you just go out there and throw what you’ve got and give it 100 percent every time for a couple innings and then you’re good,” said Barnette, whose fastball was clocked as high a 96 mph in his Knights debut in Durham on Sunday.

Scouts had already rated the young right-hander’s slider as a plus pitch and it’s only played up since his added velocity.

“There were definitely some butterflies on Sunday,” said Barnette, who tossed two perfect innings of relief with one strikeout in Durham. “But if you don’t have butterflies in this game you shouldn’t be playing it. It’s definitely a good thing and I was very excited.”

Prior to being drafted, Barnett compiled an 18-8 record with a 3.37 ERA in three seasons for the Charlotte 49ers. In 2011, he was named Atlantic-10 Freshman of the Year after tying for second in the conference with nine wins and finishing third with a 2.29 ERA.

Not surprisingly, Barnette’s phone has been buzzing with ticket requests almost non-stop since the news of his promotion. He’s expecting a cheering section of 40-plus at BB&T BallPark this weekend when the Knights return to town to host Norfolk.

“I feel like it’s going to beneficial for me,” said Barnette when asked if the large crowd would mean added pressure. “I’m going to have a lot of people supporting me and a lot of people wanting me to do well, so I have that on my side. I don’t think it’s going to add any pressure at all.”   


Anonymous said...

Go Niners!

Anonymous said...

Good luck Tyler! GO NINERS!