District on Deck spoke to Washington Nationals catching prospect Tres Barrera about the progress he’s been making in the minors and the Arizona Fall League.
Barrera has now been in the Nationals organization for two and a half years after being taken in the sixth round out of Texas back in 2016. He’s currently the 15th ranked prospect in the Nats system according to MLB.com and continues to develop well in the minor leagues.
The young catcher talked about some of the adaptations he’s had to make to the pro game compared to the college game.
“It’s a lot different, especially being a catcher. In college, everything is put on a plate for you and you just go do it. But now as a catcher, you have to start thinking on your own, game planning, pitch calling and all different types of aspects of the game, it’s not only just hit it and throw it. You’ve got to know the game and learn the game and keep getting better at that as you go up.”
Barrera only started catching full-time in college, so he’s had a steep learning curve behind the dish. But he’s really made strides in that area since joining the Nats, and he talked a bit about those strides.
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“I didn’t start catching until my freshman year at college and at the time, even towards the end of my college career, I was just an athlete behind the plate, just acting on what I thought was right. When I got to pro ball they would ask me, what do you do here, what do you do there, and I said I dunno, I just react and block the ball. So now I’m getting into the details of catching, and it’s really helped out my defensive game, and I take pride in defense more than anything now, because that’s what’s going to keep me around the game for a long time.”
As part of his rapid development defensively, in 2018, he was able to throw out 25 of 51 base stealers. He takes a lot of pride in this area of his game and went into details about the work he put in to get that outstanding caught stealing percentage.
“Absolutely. When I came in, my throwing wasn’t really the best. But our catching co-ordinator Michael Barrett and Sandy Martinez who’s also with us that worked down in the Dominican and in my first Instructional League, they really narrowed down to my footwork and throwing mechanics to where it became muscle memory. And now I just trust it and have confidence in throwing the baseball now, and I take pride in throwing out runners. Anything that will help us get outs.”
Barrera also impressed with the bat this season, which helped lead him to a Carolina League All-Star appearance. He hit a homer in that game, and he talked about that moment.
“It was an opposite-field home run, I don’t really hit too many out that way. The swing was feeling good that day. My parents were in the stand and I told my Dad I’m gonna hit a home run. My parents don’t really get to come out and watch me play very much and sure enough, I did it while they were there and that was the first time they’d seen me all year. It was a great experience.”
You can check out the full interview with Tres Barrera on Spreaker where he talks about the taco costume he took BP in, his playoff experience with the P-Nats and whether he would rather break the home run record or hit .400 in a season.
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We want to say thanks again to Tres Barrera for taking the time to join us on the podcast. Make sure you follow him on Twitter @TresBarrera13 and check on his progress as he moves up the Nationals system.