Reds shortstop Jose Barrero could be the antithesis of Aristides Aquino

Cincinnati Reds infielder Jose Barrero (2).
Cincinnati Reds infielder Jose Barrero (2). / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
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Jose Barrero is scuffling in his first week after being recalled from Triple-A Louisville. While the Cincinnati Reds shortstop put up a two-home run game against the Milwaukee Brewers last week, Barrero has shown a penchant for striking out quite a lot.

Barrero is 4-for-21 with 12 strikeouts during his first week back with the Reds. Several fans will point to this stat alone as a reason why Barrero will never make it as an everyday player in the major leagues. That seems like an overly harsh criticism for a young player who's done everything the club has asked him to do.

While some fans will, it's unfair to discount the fact that Barrero underwent wrist surgery prior to this season. In 45 games at Triple-A last season, Barrero hit .306/.392/.594 while he slashed .209/.262/.377 in 55 games at Louisville this year. He didn't just forget how to hit.

Reds outfielder Aristides Aquino had the exact opposite problem.

Not so long ago, there was a young Cincinnati Reds outfielder who broke onto the scene and took the league by storm. In August of 2019, Aristides Aquino blasted 14 home runs and racked up 32 RBIs while winning Player of the Month honors and looking like the second coming of Babe Ruth.

The Punisher was breaking records left and right. It looked as though the Reds had found a diamond in the rough. But since September 1, 2019, Aquino has hit .187/.266/.365 and has just 20 home runs. Aquino is currently platooning in the Reds' outfield with Albert Almora Jr. and Jake Fraley.

The point is, Aquino looked unstoppable in his first month with the ball club. Fans were ready to anoint him as their right fielder for the next five years. The moonshots that were coming off his bat gave Reds fans flashbacks to Adam Dunn. Aquino was going to be the player that would lead the Reds into the 2020 season.

Except, he wasn't. In fact, the Reds front office brought along Shogo Akiyama and Nick Castellanos during the 2019-20 offseason and reduced Aquino's role to that of a part-time player. The Punisher has never recovered and will be in danger of being designated for assignment once again this offseason.

So while it was a mistake to so quickly elevate Aristides Aquino to the level of superstar status, it's also a mistake to throw a label on a player like Jose Barrero who is just now getting his first "real" opportunity to prove that he can be the Cincinnati Reds everyday shortstop.

Every major outlet around the country has viewed Jose Barrero as a top prospect and now he's getting his chance to prove it. Let's see how things work out over the remainder of the season, shall we?

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