The Milwaukee Brewers have been mostly quiet in the major league free agent market so far this winter, but they've been keeping busy on the minor league side of things, especially when it comes to pitching. They've already signed independent league hurlers Chad Nading, Luke Barker and career minor leaguer Paulo Espino, and have now reportedly signed 6'8" lefty Andrew Barbosa to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training (h/t to Jim Goulart of Brewerfan.net, who first pointed out the signing).
Barbosa turned 29 a few weeks ago, and was drafted in the 36th round out of the University of South Florida by Arizona in the 2012 draft. He was released early in 2015 before latching on with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League. He used two months there to land a job in the Atlanta farm system, where he struck out 51 batters in 43.2 innings for the Double-A Mississippi Braves.
Barbosa used his connections with Long Island to ink a minor league deal with the Mets last winter. Through four levels in the minors, he struck out 71 with only 19 walks in 71.2 innings in 15 starts and one relief appearance. A lat injury kept him off the mound for two months, but he bounced back to finish the year strong. The numbers are impressive, but he was also a 28-year-old who has mostly worked in Double-A.
Mets Minors gives us a glimpse at the kind of stuff Barbosa is working with. He throws in the high 80s to low 90s, but an over-the-top delivery combined with his 6'8" frame creates a tough angle for hitters. He also throws a curveball and has a quality changeup.
As an interesting side note, Barbosa was actually drafted four separate times before starting his professional career, and three times by the San Francisco Giants, who he never signed with. The Giants picked him in the 15th round in 2006 out of high school, the 48th round in 2007 out of community college and the 15th round again in 2010 out of USF. He decided to stay in school all three times, had to get Tommy John surgery in 2011, and was left with little leverage in 2012 when the Diamondbacks took him.
Barbosa's tall stature makes him unique, but he'll also be a rare lefty at the spring camp. Right now, Josh Hader and Brent Suter are the only left-handers on the 40-man roster. Barbosa is no guarantee to make the 40-man, but the Brewers' bullpen situation is extremely fluid at the moment and Barbosa was very effective against left-handed batters last season. At the very least, he could make an interesting option as a LOOGY.
The Brewers have yet to confirm the signing, but Barbosa himself did on multiple social media accounts.
Statistics courtesy Baseball Reference