Chicago Cubs: 2019 MLB Draft Profile and Interview with Hunter Barco

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs could take a pitcher who also rakes at the plate in Hunter Barco with the 27th overall pick.

The Chicago Cubs could get a potential two-way player in Hunter Barco at the end of the first round. Barco is a senior at The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida with a commitment to play college baseball at the University of Florida.

The 6′-4″ 200 southpaw pitcher features a pitching arsenal with his primary pitch that consistently sits anywhere between 92-95 mph, a slider and a changeup. He’s gained 9 mph of velocity on his fastball since July 2015 and projects to be able to throw it a bit harder as he fills out. Barco throws essentially from a side-arm delivery which helps his fastball and slider sink as much as they do.

In his high school career, Barco pitched to a record of 21-3 in 155.2 innings with 202 strikeouts to the tune of a 1.84 ERA. He is also slashed 0.301/0.440/0.608 with 11 home-runs and 53 runs-batted-in at the plate.  He was recently shut down with a shoulder strain but recently told me that it was just precautionary.

Scouts love how developed his secondary pitches are for his age:

"The 6-foot-4, 201-pound southpaw has three pitches that could be projected as plus—fastball, slider, changeup—and his fastball was mostly in the 89-92 mph range this summer with tremendous running action and sink. Barco throws from a very low, practically sidearm delivery, which gives both his fastball and low spin rate changeup plenty of run and fade, respectively. Yet, that low arm slot can also hurt the consistency of his slider at times. – via BaseballAmerica"

We covered those topics and more during a recent Q&A with Barco.

Q&A with Hunter Barco

Q: I think it’s quite rare to see a pitching prospect who can also rake at the plate. I know you play a little first base as well, but how have you been able to become so successful as a hitter and pitcher?

A: I have been able to be successful because I focus a lot of my time on both aspects of the game. At practice every day, I get my work that needs to be done on the mound, and then I get my work in at first base and at the plate. The only way to be successful at something is to dedicate your time to it. I have the heart and the want to be great at both at the next level, and I hope for the opportunity to do so.

Q: I recently saw that you were shut down with a shoulder strain. Could you speak a little bit on that and how you think it might impact your long-term future?

A: It’s just a minor strain and I am shut down for precautionary reasons. I don’t think it will impact my future at all. I just need some time to rest and very soon I will be back to 100%.

Q: Your fastball sits in the low to mid 90’s, but what are some other pitches you think you have a good feel for?

A: My fastball is my out-pitch with late life and good command. I have a split finger
that I am very comfortable with and a slider that has developed a great amount since last year. I have also been working on a changeup that soon I will use regularly in my arsenal.

Q: What are some areas in your game that you feel you need to improve on?

A: As an athlete there is always room to improve. I should focus on cutting down swings and misses at the plate. On the mound, I need to develop my changeup and slider more.

Q: Do you have any thoughts right now if you prefer to pitch or become a full-time hitter?

A: I love doing both and if the time comes where I have to choose one I will, but for now I want to keep doing both as long as I can.

Q: What would it mean for you to have your name called in the first round by the Chicago Cubs at number 27 overall?

A: It would be an honor to go anywhere in the first round. The Cubs have an amazing city with even better fans. They have a very good farm system as well so I would be more than happy to hear the Cubs call my name.

Q: I’m gonna throw out a scenario for you. It’s a 1-2 count and you’re facing a lefty batter. How do you get him out? Do you try something low and away to see if he chases or just attack him on the fourth pitch?

A: It depends who is hitting and how his swing looks, but if he has been just missing with his swings I would most likely go slider low and out to see if he will chase and if he does not, bust him in with a fastball on his hands.

Q: Is there anything else you would want Cubs fans to know about you leading up to the draft?

A: I love the game of baseball and I will do anything and everything I can to help my team win.

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Q: Thanks for your time today and best of luck with your draft preparation!

A: Thank you for asking me to do these! If you would ever like to ask anything else let me know.