Intriguing stat comparison should give Reds fans hope despite Jose Barrero's struggles

Cincinnati Reds shortstop Jose Barrero.
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Jose Barrero. / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

There's no easy way to say it, Jose Barrero has struggled mightily this season. The Cincinnati Reds top infield prospect has just 22 hits in 147 at-bats (.156) and 65 strikeouts (44.2%).

Barrero, who was sidelined for over two months following surgery on his wrist, was called up to the big leagues shortly after the MLB trade deadline. Despite his struggles at Triple-A Louisville this season, the Reds front office made the decision to move Kyle Farmer to third base and allow Barrero to play shortstop.

This isn't Barrero's first time in the majors, but it's the first time that Cincinnati has given the infielder consistent playing time at his natural position. Barrero made his major league debut in 2020 despite never playing at Double-A or Triple-A, and received sporadic playing time last season, including starting five games in center field. But there may yet be hope for the Cincinnati Reds shortstop.

This stat comparison should give Reds fans hope despite Jose Barrero's struggles.

Baseball fans love to pour over box scores, statistics, and the new-school approach has folks looking at launch angle, exit velocity, and spin-rate. With that in mind, take a look at these two stat lines.

  • Player A: .304/.359/.586, 68 extra base hits, 30.8% strikeout-rate, 150 wRC+ in 120 games played
  • Player B: .303/.380/.539, 49 extra base hits, 22.1% strikeout-rate, 147 wRC+ in 85 games played

A side-by-side comparison of these two players would lead you to believe that both players are about equal, right? While Player A might have more power, Player B appears to be the more disciplined hitter between the two. Regardless, there's not a manager in Major League Baseball who wouldn't want these two batting near the top of his lineup card.

Would you believe that Player A is Elly De La Cruz from his 2022 season while playing at High-A and Double-A and Jose Barrero is Player B while playing at Double-A and Triple-A last season? That's right, this year's "can't miss superstar prospect" that everyone throughout Reds Country is so excited about, posted an almost identical slash line to what Barrero put up last season in the minors.

This is in no way meant to diminish the excitement surrounding De La Cruz. The numbers he put up in the minor leagues this season were spectacular and he'll likely be rated among the Top 10 prospects in all of baseball.

But it's a cautionary tale that illustrates how quickly a prospect can turn from a potential cornerstone into a question mark. It also shows why the Cincinnati Reds are likely to take things slowly when it comes to Elly De La Cruz. Do not expect to see De La Cruz on next year's Opening Day roster.

On the flip side, it should also give the Cincinnati faithful that Jose Barrero has the opportunity to turn things around. Barrero did not only struggle in the big leagues this season, but the 24-year-old never got on track at Triple-A either, and one has to wonder if he's fully recovered from the injury he suffered prior to the 2022 season.

The Cincinnati Reds fanbase should not give up on Jose Barrero quickly and not be so quick to rush Elly De La Cruz to the major leagues. Both players are tremendous athletes and the opportunity remains for the duo to solidify the left side of the infield for the next decade.

Elly De La Cruz should begin the 2023 season at Double-A. dark. Next