2 reasons Jose Barrero should be the Reds starting shortstop and 1 reason he shouldn't

Cincinnati Reds Jose Barrero
Cincinnati Reds Jose Barrero / Joe Sargent/GettyImages
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Well, it finally happened. It took a little longer than expected, but it finally happened. The Cincinnati Reds recalled Jose Barrero to the major leagues, and in his first game back he'll be starting at shortstop.

There has been a debate for quite some time among the Reds fanbase as to who should be Cincinnati's starting shortstop; Jose Barrero or Kyle Farmer? There was expected to be an open competition between the two this spring, but a wrist injury forced Barrero onto the 60-day IL and Farmer was the Reds Opening Day shortstop.

But here we are, with the trade deadline having passed, and Barrero is in the starting lineup in the Cincinnati Reds series finale agains the Miami Marlins. To be fair, Farmer's last off-day was July 28th and he was hit-by-pitch twice on Tuesday evening.

But David Bell has options, and the Reds coaches and front office have an obligation to the organization and Jose Barrero to let him play over the final two months of the season. Let's look at two reasons why Barrero should be the Reds starting shortstop and one reason why he shouldn't.

The Reds need to discover whether or not Jose Barrero can hit at the major league level.

It's a very lazy narrative to say that Jose Barrero cannot hit at the major league level. He's never been given the opportunity. Barrero has a grand total of 117 major league at-bats. That's it. Furthermore, 67 of those came during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season before Barrero had even set foot on a Double-A ball field.

That means that Barrero legitimately has 50 major league at-bats. During those 50 ABs, Barrero hit .200/.286/.320 with five extra base hits. Let's also not forget that so many of those came while Barrero was also playing out of position in the outfield and getting inconsistent reps.

If you're expecting a .300 hitter in his first big league action while also trying to learn how to play center field, you're fooling yourself. Barrero made five starts in the outfield, one at second base, and seven at shortstop.

The Cincinnati Reds need to commit to putting Jose Barrero into the lineup on a regular basis, at his regular position, and give him regular at-bats. Quite frankly he should be hitting right behind Jonathan India in the No. 2 hole so as to give him as many opportunities as possible, but that's not essential. The bottom line is, Barrero has to be in the everyday lineup, otherwise why did the Reds call him up?

The Reds need to figure out how to construct next year's roster.

Another reason why Jose Barrero needs to be given the chance to play shortstop every day for Cincinnati Reds is to help the front office figure out how to construct the roster heading into the offseason. The Reds have a lot of questions that need answering and Barrero's success or failure will have a big impact.

Will Barrero be the Reds starting shortstop in 2023? Should Kyle Farmer be retained beyond this season? Who's going to play third base next year? Should Matt McLain switch positions? The answer to all of these questions at the moment is the same; we don't know. That's why it's crucial to find out if Barrero has what it takes to be a productive major leaguer.

The Reds know what they have in Kyle Farmer. He's a dependable veteran who's under team-control through the 2024 season. Farmer, however, turns 32 years old later this month and while he's beloved in the clubhouse and by the fans, he's not suited to be the team's everyday shortstop. Can he play the position? Yes. But with a .692 OPS this season, the Reds have to see what else is out there.

Matt McLain is another piece of this puzzle. With Jose Barrero moving up to the bigs, don't be surprised to see McLain graduate to Triple-A by the end of the season. McLain could very easily compete to be the Reds starting shortstop next season if Barrero fails to impress over the final two months.

Or, if Barrero is everything the Reds hope that he is, then it's time to focus on getting McLain some reps at a position other than shortstop. Whether that's second base, third base, or the outfield is yet to be determined. But if McLain has the potential, much like Jonathan India last season, to break camp with the big league club, the Reds need to know where he'll line up defensively.

Reds SS Jose Barrero has struck out way too much at Triple-A this season.

When it comes to the reason why Jose Barrero should not be brought along as the Cincinnati Reds shortstop for the rest of the 2022 season, you needn't look much further than what he's done at Triple-A this season.

Barrero has struggled mightily since returning from wrist surgery. That dominant bat that carried Barrero all the way from Double-A last season to the majors has let him down in 2022. In 55 games at Triple-A Louisville this season, Barrero has hit just .209/.262/.377 with nine home runs and 24 RBIs.

The biggest concern has got to be Barrero's obscene strikeout-rate. The 24-year-old has gone down on strikes 37.6% of the time. Even worse is that it's not really offset by his walk-rate. Barrero is drawing a free pass just 4.6% of the time.

Last year at Triple-A, Barrero owned a strikeout-rate of 22.0% and a walk-rate of 10.0% according to FanGraphs. Those types of numbers will play all day long as would his wRC+ of 158 and an OPS of .986. But a wRC+ of just 66 and an OPS of .639 is not going to get it done.

There are those who have concerns about Jose Barrero's ability to adjust to the big leagues, and they're legitimate given the numbers. But until Barrero is given consistent time at the major league level, fans are never going to know whether or not he can cut it. Let's give him a chance.

Next. Predicting the Reds post-trade deadline starting lineup. dark