Reds: Kyle Farmer should not be the starting shortstop in 2022

CINCINNATI, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 20: Kyle Farmer #17 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 20: Kyle Farmer #17 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

You won’t find many fans who are bigger supporters of Kyle Farmer than me. Farmer has played an invaluable role for the Cincinnati Reds this season. That said, Jose Barrero, not Kyle Farmer should be Cincinnati’s starting shortstop on Opening Day next year.

Please do not take this an indictment against Farmer. He’s played well above expectations this season, and deserves all the credit and recognition he’s received. But, with a young, budding prospect like Barrero set to make an impact at the major league level, it’s time for Farmer to return to his role as David Bell’s first player off the bench.

Farmer was a late scratch from yesterday’s game versus the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bell described it as an abdominal or intercostal injury. This will likely shelve Farmer for the remainder of the season. In fact, don’t be surprised if Farmer hits the 10-day IL later today.

Jose Barrero, not Kyle Farmer, should be the Reds starting SS in 2022.

Kyle Farmer proved this season that he’s capable of playing elite-level defense at one of the most difficult positions in Major League Baseball. Shortstop is, and will always be, one of the most daunting positions to field. Farmer had a .988 fielding percentage at shortstop this season. That mark ties Barry Larkin’s career-best set in 2004.

Farmer is a fantastic defender, but is that level of play sustainable? I for one think it is. Farmer set career highs in games played, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, RBIs, and WAR. Farmer slashed .263/.316/.416.

Still, it’s time to hand the reigns over to the shortstop of the future, Jose Barrero. Barrero has seen time at the major league level over the past two seasons, and while he’s yet to have consistent playing time and success in the big leagues, there’s no doubt that the talent is there.

While I don’t mind if both Farmer and Barrero enter spring training competing for the starting spot, if the performance between the two is relatively equal, the nod should go to Barrero. Despite the fact we’ve seen Barrero gather some innings in center field, shortstop is where the rookie belongs.

What are the Reds to do with Kyle Farmer?

If Jose Barrero is indeed the Cincinnati Reds starting shortstop when the season begins next March, what does that mean for Kyle Farmer. Quite simply, Farmer should return to the role he had prior to this season; utility infielder.

That is in no way meant to disrespect Farmer or undermine what the 31-year-old has done this season. Heading into spring training back in February, Farmer was thought to be the leading in-house candidate to take over for Freddy Galvis at shortstop.

However, a few weeks into camp, the Reds inserted Eugenio Suárez as the team’s starting shortstop, shifted Mike Moustakas to third base, and added rookie Jonathan India to the starting lineup, inserting the University of Florida alum at second base.

Things seem to have worked out well for India, who’s likely to take home Rookie of the Year honors in the National League. The very same fate could await Jose Barrero if the Reds do the right thing and make the 23-year-old Cincinnati’s starting shortstop next season.

Injuries happen, guys get tired and need a day off, and sometimes, the team’s starters simply underperform. All of those things happened this season, and it allowed Kyle Farmer to show that he has the chops to be an everyday player at the highest level.

Is Castillo's career with the Reds over?. Next

Farmer’s ability to field all four infield spots makes him an invaluable member of the Cincinnati Reds heading into next season. While it’s certainly not an ideal scenario for Kyle Farmer, the Reds best move is to shift the veteran back to the bench and allow the young rookie to prove himself.