Former Baler eyes ‘the show’

Photo Courtesy of Barone Family Daniel Barone pitches for the Carolina Mudcats, the Florida Marlins' AA level squad. The 23-year-old is a 2001 graduate of San Benito High School.

Daniel Barone has surged through two A-level teams and now plays
for Marlins’ AA squad
Although he doesn’t have to report back to the Florida Marlins
training camp until Feb. 24, Hollister’s Daniel Barone has no plans
to stop practicing and perfecting his pitches during the
off-season.
And he shouldn’t.
Daniel Barone has surged through two A-level teams and now plays for Marlins’ AA squad

Although he doesn’t have to report back to the Florida Marlins training camp until Feb. 24, Hollister’s Daniel Barone has no plans to stop practicing and perfecting his pitches during the off-season.

And he shouldn’t.

Just four weeks ago the 23-year-old pitcher was called up to the Carolina Mudcats where he finished out his 2006 minor league campaign on the Marlins’ AA level squad.

The move put him ahead of the curve in the race to “the show.”

“Right now, I’m ahead of my draft year. I’m ahead of all of the guys that were drafted (by Florida in 2004),” said Barone, who graduated from San Benito High in 2001.

“It feels really good, awesome to be able to end up there. That’s what I was shooting for all season.”

Since players can spend years stagnating in the minors by playing on high and low A-level teams, Barone knows that his call from the Jupiter Hammerheads (High A) to the Mudcats was significant.

The reason is that even though the normal progression would have him moving to AAA ball sometime next season, he also knows that many players often get double promoted in AA ball.

Just recently Anibal Sanchez was one player to make the jump from the Mudcats to the Marlins, where he has shined this season. Barone hopes he too has a similar fate.

“It is possible. Last year’s (Mudcats) AA players were all called up (to the Majors) within the first two months of the season, so it looks pretty good,” Barone said. “It’s exciting because this is going to be a do or die year. When you get to AA, if you’re performing, they will definitely give you a chance.”

Then again, if he doesn’t perform well Barone also knows that he could wind up stagnating in the minors for years to come, which often becomes the fate of many players – a far cry from the glamorous life in the Big Leagues.

“In rookie ball, we made $1,000 a month. In low A, you get $1,200, high A makes $1,300 and AA pays $1,500, which makes it very difficult financially right now,” Barone said. “But it’s good because it keeps the players hungry to perform and move up.”

Once Barone does move up, his salary will explode up. When his former Mudcat teammate Jose Garcia made the jump to the Marlins last month, he went from earning $1,500 a month with the Mudcats to $2,000 a day with the Marlins – $14,000 a week – the league minimum.

“I could live with that,” said Barone.

After being drafted in the 11th round in 2004, Barone played one season of rookie ball in 2005 before joining the Greensboro Grasshoppers (low-A) squad in February of this year.

By May, Barone’s impressive starts with the Grasshoppers along with his 2.69 ERA helped move the 6-foot-2 fireballer to the Jupiter Hammerheads high-A team where he did a four-month stint and posted a 3.50 ERA before being called up to play for the Mudcats.

Barone has impressed the minor league coaches courtesy of his exceptional location with his 93-mph fastball, which he calls his bread and butter pitch, and his cutter pitch.

“It cuts about three or four inches and gets me a ton of groundouts,” he said.

In addition to his obvious talent, another thing that will help Barone move up is the fact that he plays in the Marlins organization in the first place – an organization with a Major League team that is currently 16 games out of first place in the National League East and not exactly known for its deep roster.

And that’s all welcomed news to the talented hurler, who got two starts with the Mudcats before the season ended, finishing with a 1.80 ERA and a 1-0 record.

During the off season Barone plans to spend quality time with family and friends, play a lot of golf with his grandfather and give pitching lessons as well to supplement his income.

To contact the Major League prospect for a pitching lesson, call 831-637-1179.

SHARE
Previous articleRunning Deep
Next articleStaying Safe in SBC

Leave your comments