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Article: Get to Know: 1B Jack Barrie

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#1 Seth Stohs

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Posted 17 March 2015 - 08:25 AM

The Twins, and specifically Howard Norsetter, have a long history of signing top talent out of Australia. Some of the first included Grant Balfour and Michael Nakamura. Then players such as James Beresford and Allan de San Miguel signed with the Twins. In 2012, the Twins signed one of their top pitching prospects, Lewis Thorpe, out of Australia. Just over a year ago, the Twins signed their biggest Australian player yet, 6-5, 240 pound first baseman Jack Barrie.Barrie went to Kawana Waters State College in Queensland, Australia. The Twins scouted him at some national tournaments. At the Under-18 National Championship just over a year ago, he hit .636/.652/.1.136 with six doubles, two triples and four home runs in 44 at bats.

It was shortly after that performance that the Twins were able to outbid several other teams -- including the Diamondbacks, Reds and Rangers -- and sign Barrie, reportedly for a signing bonus in the neighborhood of $250,000.

Before signing, he put a lot of thought into his future. “I was going to eventually go to college and not even worry about the contract. I was tying up between college and the Twins. They gave me a really good college package with my signing bonus so I decided to go with them so I’d have a backup after baseball.”

Did the fact that the Twins have so many players from Australia factor into his decision in any way? Maybe. As Barrie recalls, “I spoke to Lewis Thorpe before making my decision. It was nice knowing there were other Australians here. That just makes me feel a bit more at home. But other than that, it was more a decision for my personal benefit.”

The interesting thing is that Barrie did not start out playing baseball in his early childhood.

He said, “I’d only been playing baseball before I signed for maybe five or six years. I used to skateboard and swim and play AFL and rugby so that was my thing.”

With his size, I would imagine he would be an intimidating force on the teams.

However, he worked very hard this offseason to get himself into much better shape. About six weeks ago, he left Australia to attend the IMG academy in Bradenton, Florida for a month. The IMG Academy is a well-respected place where elite, young athletes in most sports (from golf, to tennis, to football, basketball, baseball and more) go for expert training.

“I wanted to give myself a bit of a head start before spring training and get a little more work in, work with some really good coaches. That kind of stuff. Just use all of their facilities, which are all absolutely amazing. That was one of the biggest things.” He continued, “We mostly did gym workouts. We did a lot on running technique, body composition, and then we did our outfield work and ground balls and out work on our hitting, fundamentals, and that kind of stuff.”

He was very happy with his decision to spend a month in Bradenton preparing for spring training. As someone who just turned 19 years old, but is still young to the game of baseball, he is immensely talented and strong but still has much to learn about the nuances of the game of baseball. He is certainly willing to work on the game, but also on his body. He worked hard all offseason and when he weighed in last week at his physical, he had lost 35 pounds.

“It was a goal. When I left the Twins left year after the season. I had a goal to be 240 pounds and 18% body fat. When I got home to Australia, I was 270 pounds. I had put on a lot of weight. That was one of my biggest goals is to get down somewhere where I was comfortable. I feel better. I run faster. My body feels better. I’m not getting injured and I’m throwing harder as well. I’m really liking my body as well.”

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He struggled in his professional debut in 2014 with the Gulf Coast League Twins which was to be expected. In 25 games, he hit .205/.284/.233 with two extra base hits. The struggles were to be expected considering his lack of playing time against this kind of competition. To be completely fair, when Barrie came to the States a year ago, he wasn’t even sure what he was getting into.

“I thought it was going to be completely different. As an international person, I had no idea about baseball in America. First time really being there. I was expecting something a lot different. I came in. The heat was crazy. The amount of work we were doing was insane. I just ran into a wall.”

With the experience under his belt and the work he put in for the offseason, Barrie is hoping for improvement in 2015.

“This year, I have a bit more of an understanding. Now I got invited to spring training which I’m really grateful for. I’m just playing it day-by-day.”

Jack Barrie has a lot of potential. As an observer the last week in Ft. Myers, you can see that potential. He is a big, young man and strong. He shows good power in batting practice, and he looked fairly solid defensively. He’s got a lot of work yet to do to get to where he wants to get, and he knows it. You could see struggles and some confusion at times, but he really took instruction well and the next time, he did things right. That’s what you want to see in a young player with that much potential.

The other thing that is clear is that he has great work ethic. He clearly has a strong drive to learn and to become successful. He’s a very bright kid.

As fans, it is going to be fun to watch this young talent grow over the next few years. Fans will also need to be patient as he continues to learn and make adjustments physically, mentally and emotionally to a game that is still fairly new to him and in a country that is very much new to him.

For his part, he is willing to learn, but he’s also excited for how far he has come in a short time. “Two years from playing, I made my first state team. Three years from playing, I made the national team. Two years after that, I got signed. It just kind of all worked together. I was playing on a club team all around Queensland, all around my state.”

He is also gracious and appreciative of those around him in this game. “I had a lot of people that were trying to help me out, trying to get me to where I wanted to go.”

Expect that Jack Barrie will remain in Ft. Myers for extended spring training and the play with the Gulf Coast League Twins in their brand new field later in 2015.

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#2 gunnarthor

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Posted 17 March 2015 - 09:09 AM

Seth,

What is EST like?  How much time a week to players put into baseball? Do they have jobs on the side? I assume they play scrimmaged games?  


#3 Shane Wahl

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Posted 17 March 2015 - 09:54 AM

Yes! I am glad you profiled Barrie. I am counting him as a very-under-the-radar guy who should be a top guy to watch at the lower levels.


#4 Seth Stohs

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Posted 17 March 2015 - 06:14 PM

 

Seth,

What is EST like?  How much time a week to players put into baseball? Do they have jobs on the side? I assume they play scrimmaged games?  

 

The simple response is that it is a lot like what they're doing in spring training. They'll likely workout/practice from 9-12 or so every day. They will play some games against teams that are close (Bradenton, Sarasota, etc). 

 

They get a lot of work and there are a lot of coaches there as well. The coach to player ratio is good.


#5 Lazarus

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 11:41 AM

I like these low-downside, high-upside international signings. His progress will be interesting to follow over the next couple of years as he develops.

#6 Seth Stohs

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 06:29 PM

 

I like these low-downside, high-upside international signings. His progress will be interesting to follow over the next couple of years as he develops.

 

I agree completely. International signings are always interesting.


#7 Tibs

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 07:09 AM

What did he mean when he said the Twins gave him a really good college package with his signing bonus?
I couldn't be a player because of bad eyesight, so I decided to be an umpire instead.

#8 Seth Stohs

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 07:53 AM

 

What did he mean when he said the Twins gave him a really good college package with his signing bonus?

 

Most signing bonuses include the Twins paying for college tuition. High school draft picks usually get 4-5 years paid, and some international signings do as well (this is the first one I had actually heard). 


#9 old nurse

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Posted 03 August 2018 - 08:56 PM

The Yahoo twitter feed has led to this. Barrie was released after one season of play .Looks like he got his amateur status back and played for the University of Northwestern Ohio. He will be a seniornext year.http://www.unohracer...5/3/4111.php


#10 Seth Stohs

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 09:23 AM

 

The Yahoo twitter feed has led to this. Barrie was released after one season of play .Looks like he got his amateur status back and played for the University of Northwestern Ohio. He will be a seniornext year.http://www.unohracer...5/3/4111.php

 

Correct... he can play at NAIA schools after playing in rookie leagues. Can't play NCAA since he obviously got paid a big signing bonus.