4 Reds players with the most to gain down the stretch of the 2022 season

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Fernando Cruz
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Fernando Cruz / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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2. Reds SS Jose Barrero has the most to gain down the stretch.

Jose Barrero has proven a few things since being called up to the big leagues following the August trade deadline. First, the 24-year-old has the skillset to play shortstop on a daily basis. Barrero has all the tools teams a looking for when it comes to elite-level defense.

Second, and probably most problematic, is that Barrero has struggled to catch up to major league pitching. This is very perplexing because Barrero excelled at both Double-A and Triple-A last season. However, after undergoing wrist surgery this past spring, Barrero struggled to regain his form in the batters' box at Triple-A, and he's yet to appear comfortable in the big leagues as well.

Barrero has made adjustments at the plate, and in some ways those changes have helped. The shortstop no longer looks completely lost at the dish. However, since the calendar flipped to September, Barrero is slashing just .200/.263/.229 with a strikeout-rate of nearly 40.0%.

Jose Barrero is probably the odds-on favorite to be the Cincinnati Reds starting shortstop heading into spring training. But he'll have some competition. Elly De La Cruz and Matt McLain will both be in major league camp next spring, and if Barrero cannot overcome his shortcomings, he'll quickly be out of job.

Barrero needs to use the final few weeks of the 2022 season to slow down. Anyone who watches baseball long enough can tell that he's pressing. Barrero is trying so hard to find success that he's not focused on just making contact. Barrero needs a strong close to the season in order to feel secure heading into 2023.