Lost in the madness of Carlos Rodons 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 years 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 had been promoted from Class A Kannapolis to the Knights this past Sunday.
Pete Rose Jr. (the Intimidators manager) called me in the office and just said, Hey, youre going to Charlotte, Barnett said. I was very shocked, but it was a good time.
A native of Hickory, 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 innings pitched) with 29 strikeouts.
I feel like Ive had more success because in relief you just go out there and throw what youve got and give it 100 percent every time for a couple innings, and then youre good, said Barnette, whose fastball was clocked as high a 96 mph in his Knights debut in Durham on Sunday.
Scouts had rated the right-handers slider as a plus pitch, and its only played up with his added velocity.
There were definitely some butterflies on Sunday, said Barnette, who pitched two perfect innings of relief with one strikeout in Durham. But if you dont have butterflies in this game, you shouldnt be playing it. Its 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, Barnettes phone has been buzzing with ticket requests since the news of his promotion. Hes 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 its going to beneficial for me, Barnette said when asked if the large crowd would mean added pressure. Im 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 dont think its going to add any pressure at all.
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