Draft Prospect Hunter Barco Shuts Down Pitching With Shoulder Strain
MAY 14 UPDATE: Barco has been medically cleared to get back on the mound.
The 2019 pitching class took another hit recently, as teams were made aware this week that the top high school lefthander in the class—Hunter Barco—is shutting down as a pitcher after a pre-draft MRI revealed a strained teres minor muscle in his shoulder. Barco is still hitting for his high school team and shutting down on the mound is a precautionary move more than anything.
Teams are still processing how much this news will affect Barco’s draft stock, but for now each of the top three lefthanded pitchers in the high school class—Spencer Jones, Hayden Mullins and now Barco—have battled various injuries to different extents.
This could be nothing more than a minor issue, as Barco has pitched well throughout the spring with a 90-95 mph fastball and a pair of secondaries that flash future plus potential in his slider and changeup, although his final start before getting shut down was not great. Last year, Florida righthander Mason Denaburg battled shoulder issues throughout the spring and the Nationals still felt comfortable taking him in the first round with the 27th pick of the draft.
Prior to this news, Barco was seen as a back-of-the-first-round or supplemental first-round talent by most in the industry. That could still be the case, but teams will be scrambling over the next few days to get as much information as possible and have their own doctors give feedback on the severity of the strain.
Barco, like Denaburg, is committed to Florida.