Matthew Barefoot’s Adjustments Paying Off in a Big Way
Another prospect in 2021 is having a breakout season and establishing himself as a legitimate prospect in the Astros system. That prospect is Matthew Barefoot. Back in the 2019 draft, the Astros selected Matthew Barefoot in the 6th round out of Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina.
Matthew attended high school at Midway HS in Newton Grove, NC, just 30 minutes away from Campbell University. Growing up, Matthew spent a lot of time working on his family’s farm. That kind of work helped him develop discipline needed to be successful. I asked Barefoot about his time on the farm and he said that “it taught me that you have to work for what you get. It also taught me that if you work your butt off, the results may not be there either. You have to fall in love with the process, not the result.”
Following a great junior year in 2019 at Campbell University, Barefoot was drafted by the Astros. The acclimation process from college to pro ball wasn’t easy for him though. I asked Matthew about that and he stated “after I got drafted in 2019, we went straight to work on swing changes I needed to make. I struggled the entire short season trying to figure out how to acclimate to those changes.” That off-season was big for him as he spent that time putting his swing into muscle memory.
I asked Barefoot about the changes he made to his swing and he said “when I was in college, I had a really big load with a lot of head movement.” He advised his swing is a lot more simple now that it used to be and he is more explosive with it. Despite working on it all off-season prior to 2020, there was no 2020 season for him due to COVID. I asked him how it feels to be back playing baseball and he said “it is really refreshing being able to do your job again.”
Matthew is a toolsy prospect that packs power and speed into his 6’0″ 205 lbs frame. So far this season he has shown off the power with 12 HR and the speed with 15 SB. I asked him about his power and speed this year and he stated “I trained my swing where I can produce easy power. I’ve always been fast, but I would say I am more explosive than straight out fast.”
Matthew has also had the opportunity to refine his defense this season with the help of Astros coaching. He told me “I feel I have gotten a lot better defensively just in this year alone. I’m playing a lot of center field. I feel like my initial reads are getting better and better throughout the year.” He also told me he has a strong arm and has been working on his throwing mechanics so he can make his arm in the outfield a legit tool.
Lastly, I asked Matthew if he had any goals this season. His goal was pretty simple “stay consistent.” He said he doesn’t try to get to high during the highs or too low during the lows. He also added that he believes results take care of themselves if you operate with the right mindset everyday. It appears that mindset it working for him, evident by his .996 OPS this season in 44 games. Barefoot is another outfield prospect who is proving his worth in 2021!
**Photo Credit: Joe Dwyer**