In 2021, one of the Cincinnati Reds top prospects lit the world on fire. A young shortstop by the name of Jose Barrero would slug 19 home runs, hit 19 doubles, and play to a batting average over .300. Barrero was the Reds most highly-anticipated prospect within the organization that year.
Fast forward two seasons, and Reds fans seem ready to exile this young infielder just 129 games into his major league career. Barrero has yet to even appear in 162 games.
Don't get me wrong, Barrero has struggled. And he might not have a place in the Reds infield moving forward. This is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately business, and Barrero hasn't done much.
It's still too early for the Reds to give up on Jose Barrero.
The future of the Reds infield would seem to be filled with the likes of players like Jonathan India, Spencer Steer, Matt McLain, Elly De La Cruz, Noelvi Marte, and Christian Encarnacion-Strand. But it isn't time to give up on Jose Barrero just yet.
Barrero has shown promise in the outfield, a position in which the Reds lack depth at the minor league level. Barrero has been serviceable in his time out there, and will only get more comfortable in the outfield as time progresses.
Believe it or not, 2023 has been Barrero's best season yet, furthering the idea that he should be given more chances to prove himself. While his counting statistics are nothing to call home about, they have definitely improved.
Barrero has career-highs in doubles, RBIs, batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, and OPS. The 24-year-old has done so in just over 100 plate appearances, compared to the 174 trips to the plate he made late last season.
Barrero doesn't need to be a top of the lineup guy for the Reds. The club has their core that can handle the top of the order. Barrero's role near the bottom of the batting order is one that he could actually flourish in. Barrero's shown an improved ability to hit, along with his known power from his days in the Reds farm system.
Jose Barrero can still be part of the Cincinnati Reds future, but it would seem that his days as an infielder are all but numbered. Barrero deserves more time to prove himself, but he should now be doing so on the outfield grass.