2022 MLB Draft: Blue Jays pick American Heritage barrier
When Brandon Barriera and his family moved from New York to Florida when Barriera was just 8 years old, it was a leap of faith on the surprisingly smooth left arm of the family’s not-yet-teen son.
On a lark, Barriera tried to throw left-handed and Sergio Barriera, his father, thought he saw potential there.
He was right. Now, the left-handed Plantation American Heritage pitcher heads to the Toronto Blue Jays as the 23rd overall pick in the first round of the 2022 MLB Draft.
Barriera was the third high school pitcher chosen on the first day of the draft on Sunday and became the third American heritage player to be chosen in the first round of an MLB draft, joining first baseman Eric Hosmer and Triston Casas. He was also the first Broward County player chosen in this draft and the second from South Florida, behind only Coral Park alumnus Zach Neto.
The pitcher has signed with the Vanderbilt Commodores, but will now have a decision to make. The signing bonus for the 23rd pick is around $3.08 million.
Barriera has been one of Broward’s top pitchers since freshman year. He earned second-team all-county honors from the Miami Herald as a rookie in 2019 and a junior in 2021 – the COVID-19 pandemic cut his second campaign short – and he was selected to the first team as a as a senior this year despite shutting himself down in April with over a month remaining in his season.
Still, he struck out 68 and posted a 2.27 ERA in 37 innings, and hit 99 mph with his fastball. As a southpaw, that makes him a particularly enticing prospect, even though he’s relatively small for a starting pitcher at 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds.
Fastball is only part of Barriera’s package, however. His slider is already a swing-and-miss secondary pitch and scouts are also optimistic about the potential for his change.
This story was originally published July 17, 2022 9:36 p.m.