The Boston Red Sox have some major superstars in their bullpen. Craig Kimbrel is one of the most feared closers in baseball, while Addison Reed and Joe Kelly are proving to be bullpen aces. Matt Barnes is the arm that will play the biggest factor in the Red Sox success the rest of the way.

No – Matt Barnes is not Boston’s best arm in the bullpen. Anyone that says someone other than Craig Kimbrel needs their baseball card revoked. That doesn’t make Kimbrel the most important though.

There’s one simple reason for this. You know what you’re getting with Kimbrel – dominance. For the most part, you know what you’re getting with Addison Reed and Joe Kelly as well. While it’s to a lesser degree to Kimbrel, both can shutdown opponents on a regular basis.

After those three though, the Boston bullpen is a question mark. The Red Sox have some talented arms, but they’re all inconsistent.

Brandon Workman has been superb, but only has 20 1/3 innings under his belt this year. The Red Sox seem to be easing him into high-pressure situations due to that.

Barnes has been seeing late-inning close-game action all year though. For the most part, he’s been very strong. Although he’s gotten a bad rep because of a few miserable outings.

Overall though, Barnes has put together a very good season. He’s appeared in 53 games, throwing 55 innings. The right-hander has a 6-3 record, with a 3.27 earned run average and 1.09 walks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIP).

Walks have been a problem for Barnes on occasion but his numbers on the year aren’t bad. The 28-year-old has 23 walks compared to 63 strikeouts. His 2.77 K/BB is actually the best of his career.

Finally, opponents are hitting .193 against Barnes. This makes him a safe bet to bring into a jam.

So Kimbrel closes out games, while Reed and Kelly make sure they get to him. Those three pitchers can’t go every night though. The Red Sox need a reliable arm who can take the place of any of those names without too much of a problem.

Matt Barnes can throw multiple innings, limits damage, and racks up the strikeouts. When you really dig into it, it’s not hard to see why he’s the most important arm in the Red Sox bullpen.

Hunter Noll is a Staff Writer for Outside Pitch MLB. Follow him on Twitter

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