3 questions in the battle for shortstop during Reds spring training

Cincinnati Reds shortstop prospect Elly De La Cruz
Cincinnati Reds shortstop prospect Elly De La Cruz / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages

Kyle Farmer is no longer part of the Cincinnati Reds organization. After taking over as the Reds shortstop in 2021, Farmer was moved to third base after last year's trade deadline.

The Reds then decided that it was time to move on and traded Farmer to the Minnesota Twins last year in exchange for a minor league pitcher. Cincinnati then added veteran infielder Kevin Newman to the roster in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

There may not be a position throughout the Reds entire organization with more depth, but at the same time, more questions. Let's look at three questions fans are hopeful to have answered during spring training.

3 questions in the battle for SS during Reds spring training.

The Cincinnati Reds roster is filled with potential starting shortstops. However, one such player on the 40-man roster (Noelvi Marte) is being converted into a third baseman.

Cincinnati also has a ton of depth in their farm system. In addition to top prospect Elly De La Cruz, the team also has Matt McLain, Victor Acosta, and Edwin Arroyo in the minor leagues.

1. How long of a leash will the Reds give Jose Barrero?

Jose Barrero was supposed to be the Cincinnati Reds shortstop of the future, but the former top prospect has yet to develop into the type of player the front office was hoping for. Barrero, who received extended playing time at shortstop in 2022, fell on his face.

Barrero has shown a little bit of life while playing in the Puerto Rican Winter League during the offseason. The 24-year-old should be given every chance to be the Reds everyday starting shortstop, but one would assume he'll be on a very short leash.

2. When will Reds SS prospect Elly De La Cruz make his major league debut?

There has not been this much excitement surrounding a prospect in the Cincinnati Reds organization since Jay Bruce debuted back in 2008. Elly De La Cruz has the makings of a superstar player. There's still some concern about his high strikeout-rate, but this young man is going to be must-see each time he steps onto the field.

How long will the Reds be able to keep De La Cruz in the minor leagues? The smart money suggests that De La Cruz will start next season in either Double-A or Triple-A. Unless Jose Barrero absolutely dominates, "De La Cruz watch" will be in full effect after the All-Star break.

3. What do the Reds do with Matt McLain?

Matt McLain has the chops to play shortstop at the highest. In all honesty, it could be more likely that McLain, not Elly De La Cruz, pushes Jose Barrero for playing time in 2023. The former first-round pick will undoubtedly be part of major league camp.

There's a chance that the Reds either trade McLain or move him to the outfield in 2023. McLain did played center field in college, but has remained on the infield grass since the Reds drafted him in 2021. McLain's role in 2023 will be one to watch.

Next. Alejo Lopez has survived the Reds roster crunch so far. dark