Jose Barrero's disastrous start mimics this top rookie's early-season struggles

Cincinnati Reds shortstop Jose Barrero (2) looks on.
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Jose Barrero (2) looks on. / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

There's been a lot made of Jose Barrero's not-so-good start to his 2022 season. The former top prospect made his debut on August 3rd, but his high number of strikeouts and low batting average have some fans throughout Reds Country wondering whether or not Barrero has what it takes to be a major leaguer.

Before we dive into some offensive stats, let's all agree that Barrero's defense is as advertised. The 24-year-old has great range, a terrific arm, and above-average speed. There's no question that Barrero can handle the rigors of the position defensively.

However, when he steps into the batters' box, Barrero just looks lost. Barrero hit two home runs on August 6th at Milwaukee, but since that time, the Cuban has struck out 37 times including 12 games in which he's struck out multiple times. But there's hope, Reds fans.

Jose Barrero's struggles are eerily similar to that of Mariners' OF Julio Rodriguez.

Now, before the entire Cincinnati Reds fanbase decides that Jose Barrero will never be able to hit at the major league level, let's take a close look at the stat line from the likely 2022 American League Rookie of the Year Julio Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, who just signed a massive contract extension with the Seattle Mariners, currently leads all AL rookies in home runs (21), RBIs (65), and slugging percentage (.468). The only legitimate contender who could take the Rookie of the Year Award away from Rodriguez is Baltimore Orioles' catcher Adley Rutschman.

Rodriguez's rookie season has seen the the 21-year-old slash .264/.323/.468. But things didn't start out that way for J-Rod. During the first month of the 2022 season, Rodriguez was hitting just .206/.284/.260 with 30 strikeouts in 81 plate appearances. That comes out to a 37% strikeout-rate.

Compare those stats to what Jose Barrero has put forth so far in 2022. The Cincinnati Reds infielder is hitting .160/.181/.247 with 41 punch outs in 83 plate appearances. Barrero's strikeout is currently just below 50.0%.

Now, I am not suggesting that Barrero will all of the sudden turn things around and have the type of season that we've seen from Julio Rodriguez. But, it does take time to adjust to the major league game, and whether fans want to admit it or not, this is the first time that Barrero has received a legitimate shot to play in the major leagues.

The Cincinnati faithful should fully expect Jose Barrero to finish out the 2022 season as the Reds shortstop. Furthermore, it's highly likely that Barrero will begin next spring with the title of Opening Day shortstop. However, if Barrero does not show much improvement between now and, let's say, next May, then his time as the Reds starting shortstop may be short-lived.

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