You may remember a young, toolsy shortstop by the name of Jose Garcia that started for the Reds in 2020. While his defense was fine, he was obviously overmatched on offense and hit to the tune of .194/.206/.194 over 68 plate appearances. Garcia had never hit above A+ so that kind of debut should have been expected but the Reds were desperate. The year is now 2021 and Jose Garcia is now Jose Barrero, taking the name of his mother who lost her life to COVID-19 earlier this spring. While Barrero had a down campaign in 2020, scouts were still glowing about the young man and he stayed high on prospect leaderboards. Debuting in AA, Barrero hit .300/.367/.481 in 180 plate appearances. He was promptly promoted to AAA he he continued to mash at a .305/.389/.584 clip. He has hit 17 total home runs this year.
Barrero has always been lauded for his defense and a plethora of tools. When he takes the field he will likely be the best defensive player on the diamond and that’s why the Reds gave him several million dollars as a signing bonus in 2017. His speed, arm, and fielding ability have all been graded out as high as 60 and his power around the 50-ish range depending on where you look. The one thing that has always drug down his rankings, and potential, is a low hit tool but after hitting .300 in AA and AAA that may have been something that was fixed. Either way, if he makes contact he can really put a charge into the baseball as we saw in the 2021 Futures Game.
Barrero being called up is exciting, but it also feels like the writing was on the wall with the news yesterday that Nick Senzel was optioned to AAA. This was just another speed bump for the second overall pick. In one part, it is reported that Senzel needs more time to rehab from his knee injury. Louisville skipper, Pat Kelly has stated that Senzel still is favoring his knee when he plays. However, he is playing and in multiple positions. While the move is likely frustrating for Senzel it is best for him to come back fully healthy and in the full swing of things. Since Senzel was not coming back it made since for Barrero to be the next man up. Barrero is on fire so it makes sense for the Reds to take a chance on the flash from his bat while trying to put the best team on the field as possible. David Bell said just as much.
Bell says the move is about having “the best team we possibly can.”— Charlie Goldsmith (@CharlieG__) August 16, 2021
Bell adds that Barrero can play third base and second base, and Barrero will mostly come off the bench. https://t.co/Rqeqpe0L67
Barrero is not slotted to start. While Farmer has cooled off since his torrid run after the All-Star break the shortstop job is his to finish the season. However, the Reds have not had an actual back up shortstop since they relegated Mike Freeman. Barrero has been getting some reps at third but can also play second base and I would guess outfield in a pinch. Regardless, Farmer needs some days off, and so does Jonathan India, because they’ve been playing almost non-stop for weeks. Barrero creates the added flexibility the Reds need in the lineup right now. Hopefully, Senzel can make a speedy return to the Reds in September and that Jesse Winker doesn’t spend much time on the injured list. The corresponding move for adding Barrero was placing Winker on the IL after he came up lame on a swing yesterday. The official diagnosis is an intercostal strain. That sucks but hopefully the youngster can come up big a few times this year for the Reds to make up for it. They can easily make up some ground with the Cubs and Marlins coming to town.