Baseball: Barnes and two incoming freshmen picked in MLB draft
This week, junior Dan Barnes became the latest in a long line of Princeton pitchers to garner interest from major-league teams in the amateur draft. The Toronto Blue Jays selected the righty with their 35th-round selection on Wednesday afternoon. Barnes could have returned to Princeton to play his senior season, but instead signed a professional contract and will begin his minor-league career this summer, he said in an e-mail.
Barnes will join former Tiger catcher Jack Murphy in the Toronto organization. Murphy was drafted by the Blue Jays in the 31st round last season, while pitchers David Hale and Brad Gemberling '09 were also chosen in last season’s draft. Two Princeton hurlers, Chris Young '02 and Ross Ohlendorf '06, are currently in the major leagues.
As a junior this spring, Barnes posted a less-than-illustrious 1-3 record, but he was held back by poor run support. The righty finished with a 5.14 ERA, best in the starting rotation, and he racked up more than twice as many strikeouts as walks. Although the junior had some rough outings, he made up for it with some spectacular ones. Barnes opened the Ivy League season by pitching into the tenth inning against Harvard while only allowing two runs, and he fanned 11 batters in eight innings at Cornell in his final start.
Barnes’s strongest pitch is his fastball, which he throws upwards of 90 mph. He complements that with a solid changeup and an improved slider. Though questions have been raised about the righty’s durability — he missed most of his sophomore season with an elbow injury — he seemed to show no long-term effects this year.
Like most Tigers drafted before their senior seasons, Barnes plans to complete his degree over the next two years. He will attend school in the fall, taking a break from academics in the spring to play ball, he said.
Barnes was one of three Ivy League players chosen in the draft. Dartmouth pitcher Robert Young was picked by the White Sox in the 31st round, while Yale senior Trygg Larsson-Danforth went to Boston in the 49th round.
Two incoming Princeton freshmen were also selected by major-league teams. Third baseman Bobby Geren — the son of Oakland Athletics manager Bob Geren — was chosen by his father’s club in the 36th round. The San Diego Padres used their 45th-round pick on Michael Fagan, a southpaw who fanned 103 hitters in 46 innings this spring. Geren and Fagan are expected to decline their offers and attend Princeton this fall.