Matt McLain's hot start will put increased pressure on Reds shortstop Jose Barrero

Cincinnati Reds non-roster invitee infielder Matt McLain
Cincinnati Reds non-roster invitee infielder Matt McLain / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY

Most Reds fans thought that Jose Barrero would be hearing footsteps from the moment he set foot onto the field at Great American Ball Park this season. But it's doubtful that many of the Cincinnati faithful thought they'd be coming from Matt McLain.

Now, it's early, so let's not go nuts. But Barrero is knowingly beginning the 2023 season on a very short leash. With the Cincinnati Reds top prospect Elly De La Cruz knocking on the door of the major leagues, Barrero needed to get off to a fast start.

The Cincinnati shortstop rode the pine in Sunday's series finale against the Pittsburgh Pirates and had gone hitless in the first two games of the 2023 season. McLain, on the other hand, has gotten off to a fast start with the Louisville Bats.

Matt McLain's hot start will put increased pressure on Reds SS Jose Barrero.

Again, it's only been a few games, and it's a long season. But Jose Barrero is 0-for-7 and Matt McLain is 3-for-10. McLain has a home run and three walks while Barrero has gone down on strikes twice this season.

To be fair, there are plenty of Reds fans who probably assumed that Barrero would be 0-for-7 with seven K's. After all, the Cincinnati shortstop, over the final two months of the 2022 season, owned a strikeout-rate north of 40-percent. Barrero, however, has changed his approach, and he has looked much more comfortable in the batters box to begin his 2023 campaign.

Those types of adjustments can take time, but that is something that's not on Barrero's side this season. David Bell has talked about the importance of getting off to a fast start, and that includes Barrero.

One area of Jose Barrero's game that has not taken a hit has been his defense. The Reds shortstop is arguably the best defender on the team. Barrero is athletic and can make all the throws while playing the most difficult position on the diamond.

We're barely three games into the regular season, so there's no need to get too high on Matt McLain or too low on Jose Barrero. But if this trend continues after three weeks, then the conversation is only going to get louder. Let's hope Barrero's bat gets going in the upcoming series against the Chicago Cubs.

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