Reds shortstop Jose Barrero continues to turn the corner in Puerto Rican Winter League

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

It's been a rough go of it for former Cincinnati Reds top prospect Jose Barrero. The 24-year-old struggled mightily during his first extended look in the major leagues last season.

After the trade deadline, the Reds made the decision to shift Kyle Farmer to third base which opened the door for Barrero to receive regular playing time at shortstop for the first time in his big league career.

Barrero looked overmatched in almost every single at-bat. The infielder managed a slash line of just .152/.195/.206 in 165 at-bats. Even worse was Barrero's 76 strikeouts in 174 plate appearances (43.7% K-rate).

Reds SS Jose Barrero is turning a corner in the Puerto Rican Winter League.

But, after 15 games in the Puerto Rican Winter League (PRWL), it would appear as though Jose Barrero is turning a corner. Barrero is hitting .283/.397/.359 with two extra-base hits.

While everyone would love to see that slugging percentage above .400, the simple fact that Barrero is making consistent contact has to thrill the Cincinnati Reds front office and coaching staff. Barrero has just a 17.4% strikeout-rate and a walk-rate of 14.2%.

Now, the question becomes whether or not the adjustments that Barrero has made will translate to the major league level. While there are big league pitchers in the PRWL, some are still in the lower levels of the minors.

Jose Barrero knows the stakes. While Kyle Farmer may be gone, the Reds are hedging their bets with the addition of former Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Kevin Newman. Oh, and there's superstar prospect Elly De La Cruz waiting in the wings as well.

The 2023 season will be crucial for Barrero. It's time for him to sink or swim. So far, whatever he's doing in the Puerto Rican Winter League appears to be working. One has to imagine that the starting shortstop job is his heading into spring training, but Barrero will be on a very short leash, especially if he continues to struggle at the dish.

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