A year after making the jump from Advanced-A to the big leagues, Jose Barrero headed back to the minors to a level that was more appropriate for where he was at in his career. Cincinnati began the infielder at Double-A Chattanooga in May when the minor league season began and it didn’t take long for the infielder to make his presence felt. Barrero homered in the first two games of the season for the Lookouts and that set the tone for his month of May, where he hit .300/.383/.586 in 18 games with 11 extra-base hits.
The power output slowed down a little bit in June. Over the first four weeks of the month, Barrero hit .300 and walked seven times – good for a .354 on-base percentage. He only managed three doubles and two home runs in 22 games, though, slugging .400. Still, that combined with what he had done in May was enough to earn a promotion to Triple-A Louisville for the final two days of June.
The transition to Triple-A didn’t get out to a great start. Over the first two weeks he hit just .171. After a doubleheader on July 9th he would leave the Bats behind for a few days as he traveled out to Colorado to participate in the Futures Game during All-Star weekend. That’s where Jose Barrero got back on track. He would crush a 426-foot home run in the game, as well as draw a walk in his other plate appearance. When he returned to join Louisville on July 13th he went out and hit .345/.426/.655 with 10 doubles and 9 home runs over the next 30 games before he was called up to Cincinnati in mid-August. He didn’t play much over the next two weeks, getting three starts. He returned to Louisville for the first week of September, picking up five hits and two home runs in five games before heading back to Cincinnati for the next month.
For all 2021 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).
Jose Barrero Scouting Report
Position: Shortstop | B/T: R/R
Height: 6′ 2″ | Weight: “175” lbs | Acquired: International FA (2016)
Born: April 5, 1998
Hitting | His hit tool is average.
Power | He has plus raw power to tap into, and his current power is average to above-average.
Speed | He’s a plus speed guy who could steal 20 bases in the big leagues.
Defense | He’s got good range, footwork, and hands – combining for plus defense at shortstop.
Arm | It’s a plus arm that will play well anywhere that he’s asked to play.
There is a whole lot to like with what Jose Barrero brings to the table. Since signing he’s really filled out his body, getting bigger and stronger, but not at the cost of his speed or defensive abilities at shortstop. In 2021 that added strength really started to show up in his in-game power as he hit 20 home runs in the minors in just 86 games (including the Futures Game).
At the plate he also made strides in his plate discipline, laying off of more secondary offerings out of the zone than he has in the past. He will still need to work on that against big league pitching, where he still had some struggles in very limited action in 2021, but it was a big improvement in the minors when he was able to see live pitching every day.
In the minors there really isn’t much else for Jose Barrero to prove. He showed that he could crush Triple-A pitching this season. In the big leagues he still needs to show that he’s capable of getting the job done, particularly at the plate. He was put in a tough situation for anyone in 2020 given where he had played the year before. And in 2021 how he was used at the highest level did him no favors as he played sporadically and then when he did get on the field the team played him more in center than at shortstop despite having never started in the outfield as a professional.
In most situations it would seem that Jose Barrero would be locked in for the starting shortstop role to begin the 2022 season for the Cincinnati Reds. But given how they used him in 2021, and some questions about what’s happening in center with Nick Senzel, the defensive landing spot is more of a question than it should be.
Jose Barrero Spray Chart (MiLB only)
Interesting Stat on Jose Barrero
During the 2021 season Jose Barrero had 39 plate appearances against pitchers that were younger than he was. He didn’t draw a walk in a single one of those plate appearances. He also posted an OPS of 1.026 against them.
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**Some publications will not have Jose Barrero listed as a prospect. They may be using the service time adjustment from the 2020 season that applies for arbitration and free agency that makes 1 real day worth 2.7 days of service time. I have chosen to just use 1 day as 1 day, meaning that Barrero still qualifies as a prospect**
How does Barrero compare to former SS prospects Pokey Reese, Zack Cozart, and Felipe López? It seems those are last three “good” SS’s since Larkin. Its seems Barrero has a lot higher hit tool than those three
I think he’s a lot like Cozart in the sense that you should put him at SS and leave him there for 6+ years. Other than that he’s better in almost every category of offense.
Offense is better at minor league level. Still has to prove it in Big Leagues.
As a prospect, he’s better than all of them.
I’m not sure his hit tool is higher than all of them – but his overall package of tools most certainly is. For a 5-year stretch there, Lopez hit .280 – that’s a pretty good hit tool. Barrero’s just better across the board everywhere else, from a tools perspective, though.
Doug , maybe can we project Barrero to reach a level between Larkin and Concepción? Or below both of them but better than Cozart?
The distance between Larkin and Concepcion is pretty close for me. Larkin had more offense but not a great amount. Concepcion was the most graceful SS I ever saw defensively.
Interesting side note. Chris Buckley was involved in the signing of Felipe Lopez (Blue Jays), Zach Cozart (Reds) and Jose Barrero (Reds). Unfortunately he is not picking the people who pick the players anymore. Felipe Lopez (Reds 2005 MLB All Star), Zach Cozart(Reds 2017 Reds MLB All Star) and Jose Barrero will be better than all of them if MANAGEMENT would quit playing with his mind and playing him in CF.
Better yet, how do his hit tools compare to Brandon Larson, who also tore up AAA pitching? Hanging “can’t miss” expectations on a young player puts a lot of unnecessary stress on him and likely doesn’t help the people he is “destined” to replace, either. Can we just tap the brakes a bit and give him the chance to show what he’s got, or are we just hoping that the HOF plaque people are making for him won’t wind up next to Billy Hamilton’s?
Doug, what do you think his real weight is? The pictures that I saw in spring with him working out with Aroldys Chapman wasn’t that of a 175 pound guy
I’d venture to guess he’s at least 205.
The current generation of shortstops is historically exceptional. Barrero has the ability to get to their level…although I predict more of a slow steady rise. If he does, it will go a long ways toward making the Reds perennial division contenders.
What I’m seeing is he should just hit the ball to left field every plate appearance. Easy enough, right?
Really though, that’s a pretty good spray chart. 24% to 1b/RF, 35 to 2b/SS/CF, and 37 to 3b/LF. If he can continue to spray the ball to all fields and not get shifted to death, that’s a great thing for the Reds.
I like Farmer. He’s easy to root for. I thought he was the best candidate for the job last year and I feel he did a fine job. He beat the odds and is a gamer. And we should immediately trade him as we did with Tucker.
As Doug says, Barrero has nothing left to prove at AAA. Write him in every day for 2022, and if necessary let him bat 8th (or 9th). If he gets hurt, or fails miserably, we will have AAAA level guys like Alfredo Rodriguez or a Mike Freeman type to fill in. Especially as this is an unannounced rebuild.
And do not play him in the outfield.
This guy is going to make us forget our miseries as reds fans. He will have some errors as all young shortstops do but he will be exciting to watch.
I do hope they give him 200 at bats in center because our options in center will likely be horrible and I’d like to see farmer get some consistent at bats. But I’m looking forward to a full year of Barrero.
Or they could, you know, play the best SS prospect they’ve had in years at his natural position and actually go get a center fielder. This team has broken our perspective on what is acceptable.
Until he proves otherwise, start Barreo at SS. Play Farmer all around the infield. I really liked Farmer at SS last season, but Barreo deserves his chance. If Barreo falters, then you could fall back on Farmer. Farmer should be relatively cheap.
There’s no point in trading Farmer, who doesn’t figure to make much money next year even as a first-year arbitration guy. He had an 86 OPS+, is at best average defensively, and runs like Jackie Gleason. But he’s flexible and can rise to the occasion with the bat, so he would fill a bench role very well for a modest amount of money.