Tony was born in Anchorage, Alaska on November 9th, 1983. He played high school baseball at Thomas Jefferson High School under coach Chad Fahnlander before heading to Central Arizona College for two years of Junior College baseball.
He then moved on to the Pacific 10 Conference where he played two more years of college ball for Reggie Jackson’s alma mater, Arizona State University. He was 10-5 during his time with the Sun Devils, and the Arizona Diamondbacks drafted him in the 10th round of the 2006 Amateur Draft.
Tony played rookie ball for the Missoula Osprey (Missoula, Montana) and was 6-4 in 15 starts during the 2006 season. He was promoted to single A in 2007 and started 25 of his 26 appearances for the South Bend Silver Hawks (South Bend, Indiana).
2008 saw Tony pitching for the double A Mobile Bay Bears (Mobile, Alabama) where he pitched more than 150 innings for the second year in a row and compiled a 11-7 record with a 3.87 ERA in 27 starts. Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile is known for being a hitter’s park (13 of the 17 homers Tony surrendered were at Hank Aaron), so his ERA is that much more impressive.
His work that year, which featured 7.79 strikeouts per nine innings and a K:BB ratio of 3.17, earned him a non-roster invite to the Arizona Diamondbacks spring camp in early 2009.
Barnette played the 2009 season for the AAA Reno Aces (Reno, Nevada) where he started 29 games and threw 164.2 innings. He finished the year with a 14-8 record and ranked sixth for pitchers in the Pacific Coast League.
Following the 2009 season, Tokyo bought Barnette’s contract from Arizona as a possible number three or four starter behind Tateyama and Ishikawa.
Welcome to Tokyo!
Barnette signed a one-year deal with the Swallows on January 7th, 2010.
Barnette was released after the 2010 season and everyone, Tony included, thought that the chances of him pitching in Japan in 2011 were slim to none.
But due to a variety of reasons, Tony was re-signed by the Swallows on January 12th, 2011 for a second shot at getting the whole Japan thing sorted out. The contract included a club option for 2012.