Hitting hasn't been the problem for Reds shortstops so far this season

Cincinnati Reds shortstop Jose Barrero
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Jose Barrero / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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Wasn't it supposed to be Jose Barrero's bat that was the problem? The Cincinnati Reds knew that Barrero's bat was a work in progress prior to the 2023 season, but his glove was supposed to be his calling card, right?

Through the first few weeks of the season, it's been Barrero's glove, not his bat, that has let him down. Believe it or not, Barrero hasn't been too bad at the dish. After an 0-for-7 start to the season, Barrero has hit .275/356/.400 with a wRC+ of 101 according to FanGraphs. Most Reds fans will take that from the No. 9 hitter in the lineup.

But there's more to be the team's starting shortstop than just posting solid numbers at the dish. Outside of maybe catcher, shortstop is the most important defensive position on the diamond.

The Reds shortstop position is a veritable black hole.

Now, before everyone rushes to crush Jose Barrero and begins to clamor for Matt McLain or Elly De La Cruz to get their shot in the bigs, let's understand that Kevin Newman has been equally as bad, perhaps worse.

According to Fielding Bible, Newman has -4 defensive runs saved (DRS) in 80-plus innings and Jose Barrero has -4 DRS in 114 innings at shortstop. Flip over to Baseball Savant and you'll see Newman worth -2 outs above average (OAA) and Barrero with -3 OAA.

If you're more of a traditional numbers-type of fan, Newman and Barrero each have one error and a fielding percentage of .976. Neither one of those statistics overwhelming alarming at this stage of the season.

Every Cincinnati Reds fan entered the 2023 season expecting the shortstop position to be among the worst in terms of hitting, but it's doubtful that anyone thought both Jose Barrero and Kevin Newman would struggle on the defense side.

Matt McLain has been raking at Triple-A Louisville and Elly De La Cruz made his 2023 debut last night. Both have their sights set on making it to The Show this season, and if the defensive woes continues, Reds Country could see one or both get the call very soon.

Next. 5 players the Reds gave up on too soon. dark