Cincinnati Reds fans should stop using this lazy narrative in regards to Jose Barrero

Cincinnati Reds shortstop Jose Barrero (38) reacts after a hit.
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Jose Barrero (38) reacts after a hit. / Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports

The debate will likely rage until Opening Day; who will be the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day shortstop? Some fans will tell you it's Kyle Farmer's job to lose while others will argue that Jose Barrero needs to be given the opportunity.

Both arguments are valid, and personally, I'm all for a competition between the two once the MLBPA and owners come to an agreement and spring training gets underway. But can we please stop with this lazy narrative that Jose Barrero can't hit major league pitching and therefore Kyle Farmer should be the unquestioned starting shortstop?

Reds shortstop Jose Barrero is ready for the major leagues.

Jose Barrero has had 117 major league at-bats. Jonathan India led the Cincinnati Reds in ABs last season with 532. That's one more than Nick Castellanos had last season, and 27 more than Eugenio Suárez. The point is, Barrero's total major league at-bats amount to about 20% of a 162-game season. Heck, even Wade Miley (54 ABs) had more at-bats than Barrero last season.

Only 50 of Barrero's at-bats came last season after a successful minor league campaign at both Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville that saw the 23-year-old post a .919 OPS in 330 minor league ABs.

Let's also not forget that Jose Barrero's major league batting average of .197 includes 67 at-bats in 2020; a year in which there was no minor league season and the shortstop made his debut without setting foot on a Double-A or Triple-A field.

While it may be true that Jose Barrero has yet to prove that he can hit major league pitching, he's not really been given a consistent opportunity to prove that he can. Barrero's playing time has been sporadic at best. Barrero made 13 total starts last season, and actually put up better numbers (.233/.283/.372) when he did.

Jonathan India didn't have a good track record in the majors either.

The aforementioned Jonathan India is a great example of a player who was given the opportunity to succeed despite not having success at the major league level. India hit just .259/.365/.402 in 2019, splitting time between High-A Daytona and Double-A Chattanooga. But the former first-round pick and highly-touted prospect would not be denied last spring.

India's presence on the roster and play during Cactus League play last spring forced David Bell's hand. The Cincinnati Reds manager moved third baseman Eugenio Suárez to shortstop and an established veteran in Mike Moustakas from second base to the hot corner.

This move eliminated the chance for Kyle Farmer to be the Reds Opening Day shortstop, but paved the way for Jonathan India to go on to win National League Rookie of the Year. By the way, in India's first 117 plate yielded a slash line of .225/.325/.378. I think we're all glad Bell didn't just throw in the towel and switch Moose back to second base.

None of this is meant to undermine what Kyle Farmer did in 2021. He singled-handedly saved the Cincinnati Reds bacon after the front office failed miserably to upgrade the shortstop position last winter.

Farmer played hurt for the majority of the season, showed that he can play shortstop at the highest level, and set career-marks in home runs, RBIs, and OPS. Farmer will, and should, be given the opportunity to retain his starting job at shortstop.

Next. 3 Reds on the minor league roster who'll make some noise. dark

Let's stop using Jose Barrero's lack of consistent major league playing time as a reason the rookie shouldn't be the Cincinnati Reds starting shortstop. If Barrero outplays Farmer this spring, he should be the Reds starting shortstop on Opening Day.