It’s a big day for the Louisville Bats. Hunter Greene is taking the mound for the Bats in Nashville, making his third start at the Triple-A level. That on it’s own makes it required viewing. But another one of the Cincinnati Reds top prospects is joining him tonight on the field – Jose Barrero. The Reds third rated prospect was just promoted from Double-A Chattanooga and he’ll be batting second in the lineup tonight for Louisville.
After a 2020 Major League Baseball season where Jose Barrero – then known as Jose Garcia – hit just .194/.206/.194 in 68 plate appearances, the Cincinnati Reds began the 2021 season with the shortstop in Double-A with the Lookouts. In the first two months of the season he had a much better showing than he had in his limited big league action last year. Barrero hit .300/.367/.481 with nine doubles, a triple, six home runs, eight steals in nine attempts, had 16 walks, and he struck out 40 times in his 40 games played.
He had been tearing up the Double-A South, but a week long slump that began on June 20th really drug his numbers down. He went just 4-28 (.143) over the last week with three of his four hits going for extra-bases.
As of Tuesday afternoon Jose Barrero had hit an even .300 in both May and June, though he showed significantly more power in May (.586 slugging percentage compared to a .400 slugging percentage).
With Cincinnati still seeming to need to figure out their shortstop position, Jose Barrero is now on the doorstep. Given how his 2020 season went, he will probably be given time in Triple-A to see how he responds to more advanced pitching. Big leaguers were able to get him to expand the strikezone often last year, but that has tightened up some this year in the first two months – but it probably does help a little bit that he’s been facing Double-A pitchers and not big leaguers, too.
With a month left until the trade deadline, how Jose Barrero performs with Triple-A Louisville could come into play with how the Reds approach the deadline. While his performance isn’t the only factor involved, if he’s out to a hot start it makes it less likely the team goes out to acquire a shortstop. But if he’s not ripping through the league and Cincinnati still has a problem at the position in the big leagues but still believes they are contending, a move may make a lot more sense on the trade market to acquire someone for the second half.