Cincinnati Reds prospect Jose Barrero is set to play winter ball in the Dominican Winter League soon. On the Reds Hot Stove League show this week, hitting coach Alan Zinter was a guest and spoke about Barrero and how he and new assistant hitting coach Joel McKeithan traveled to visit with Barrero for a few days and work with him.

“We flew down here so he could meet Joel (new assistant hitting coach Joel McKeithan), and just get together,” Zinter said on the Hot Stove League show. “I think he’s going to be playing winter ball here in a couple of weeks in the Dominican. Just wanted to make sure in his prep that we’re all on the same page, that he’s working to relax a little more in his set up, that he’s working on his timing, that he’s making a few mechanical adjustments and fine tuning that kind of thing and having us all here together rather than trying to do it on a phone call or over Zoom, it’s really hard. We thought it would be really necessary to come together for two or three days.”

Jose Barrero had an outstanding season in the minor leagues in 2021. He was named as the Cincinnati Reds Minor League Player of the Year for his efforts, hitting a combined .303/.380/.539 between Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville with 19 doubles, a triple, and 19 home runs in just 85 games played. He also homered and walked in the Futures Game over the summer in Denver during All-Star weekend.

But in his sporadic playing time in the big leagues this season he still had some struggles at the plate. He managed to pick up 56 plate appearances spread out over 21 games (that were also spread out over nearly two months), and hit just .200/.286/.320 while walking three times and striking out 17 times. It was much better than what he showed in 2020 when he was making the jump to the big leagues from A-ball and the alternate site, but still not something that he will be able to lock down a starting role with unless he can make improvements.

Shawn Pender, the Reds Vice President of Player Development, believes that Jose Barrero could make some of those improvements simply by getting more time on the field. Here’s what he shared on the Hot Stove League show last week when discussing Barrero and the next steps he needed to take.

“The first thing he’s got to do is get more at-bats. I know that sounds oversimplified, but he’s a young man that quite honestly doesn’t have the same number of at-bats at his age that  most of his American counterparts will just because of what he went through to get to this country and the way his progress was accelerated because he is such a gifted athlete. We pushed Jose. And I think he has to get to a point where he trusts his approach.

I think we all spoke al ittle bit about some obvious things – there’s a little length (in his swing) that he’s going to need to shorten. He can get beat inside with uber-velocity. Which again, we see a lot in the minor leagues, we see velocity but we don’t see it at the consistent level that we’ll get at the Major League level.

It’s a matter of adjustments. I’m very confident because he’s such an athlete and a hard worker that that’s something he’ll improve with our coaching staff there monitoring what he’s doing. It’s about patience. He’s younger and more inexperienced than people assume. He’s got this man body, he’s got the great arm, he looks the part – but he’s still fairly young and inexperienced offensively. So he’s got to learn the strikezone a little bit more, but the tools are there.  The bat speed, the raw power – those are things that are just going to take a little bit of time.”

42 Responses

  1. doofus

    I shake my head when folks write that Jose Barrero is a bust because of his hitting results over only 56 plate appearances over 21 games over 2 months with the big squad in ’21. Playing sparingly will upset any young player’s timing at the plate.

    I have seen young ball players tear the cover off the ball given the same opportunity as Barrero had in ’21 and fail miserably when given FT time duties.

    Hopefully, playing in the Dominican League will re-establish his bat.

    This lockout will not help young ball players that need the offseason working with their coaches. Especially after losing the ’20 season from the Wuhan flu.

    • Droslovinia

      I don’t disagree, but I shake my head at people who assume he’s the next Mike Trout based on so few appearances, too. Let’s see what he does before we start casting his statue or tossing away other players – and before we give up on him! We’re not doing any favors by putting so much pressure on someone so young.

      • Broseph

        Most people during the season had issue with him not getting playing time against Farmer, Suarez, and Moustakes.

        Farmer had one great month, the rest, below average. We all know Suarez and Moose.

        Bell/ownership wouldn’t play a player with higher upside because of “gritty” vets, and vets with big paychecks.

        A lot of people are a little high on Barrero, and that’s because this team hasnt had a SS in such a long time. Now that there is one who could be a mainstay, yeah ppl are going to get a little too giddy.

    • burtgummer01

      Berraro has 120+ ab’s with a 107 batting average.But yet people think he’s Barry Larkin jr.He doesn’t deserve to be starting or playing more,.If he suddenly learns how to hit then he should get more playing time

    • indyDoug

      look no further than India’s struggling start this year

      • greenmtred

        I think that Barrero clearly needs an extended chance to show whether he can hit, but I agree that he shouldn’t be the default starter at shortstop.

  2. doofus

    It is somewhat telling that MLB and the owners fire the first salvo by locking out the players; and, Manfred the Maniacal proclaims he is doing it for the fans.

    Doug, I am not name calling the royal commissioner, I am merely using a euphemism to describe his behavior. I disagree with baseball commissioners that take the sport that I love away from me and proclaim that they are doing it for the fans, see Bud “The Used Car Salesman” Selig, circa 1994.

    • Mark Moore

      I’d award you at least a +500, but my store of points was either in a locker in a locked out facility or on a shipping container off the coast somewhere.

      I’ve always thought the MLB Commissioner was supposed to be the ultimate advocate of the game itself. Manfred seems far more like an ownership lap dog, at least to me. It’s just sad to sit here without any influence or power, yet really want to see a full 2022 season happen. I wanted to go to Arizona this year, but now there’s very little chance I could engineer that trip given the likely timing of any Spring Training start (or at least confirmation of the same).

  3. LDS

    Pender’s comments and Bell’s usage of Barrero seem to be in conflict.

    • David

      Yes, they do. But remember for most of the season, the Reds felt like they were in a race for at least a Wild Card slot. Farmer was a “sure thing”, a known quantity, and Barrero was just a promise of what may happen.
      Yes, Barrero has more talent than Farmer and I hope gets the opportunity to play full time. He likely will at some time.
      Concepcion was widely viewed as the “shortstop of the future” in 1970, but actually only had 260 AB’s that year. He struggled with hitting for two years, then switched to a lighter bat at the very end of 1972, and was MUCH BETTER in 1973 (until he broke his ankle).
      It may take Barrero some time, perhaps.

    • Alan Horn

      I agree. Put him in the lineup and run with him until he proves himself one way of another. Bell didn’t have any problem doing that with AA, Suarez and Moose(putting them in the lineup). It is hard for a rookie used sparingly to create much of a track record at the ML level.

      • 2020ball

        Since he didn’t perform in his limited time, I really dont see the issue with playing Farmer ahead of him in a stretch run with a shot at a wild card. If he had hit then I’d bet you’d have seen him more. This year will be an interesting one for him, and the article above even states some of the stuff he needs to work on before he’ll find success in the bigs. Just “running him out there” and watching him struggle would have been cringe worthy IMO. Bringing him up as a bench piece near the end was prudent, but he has clearly shown he has things to work on. So I see no issue, and using the other easy targets (i.e. our only 3B options and/or a fringy 4th OF) as examples doesnt really apply since they’re different situations.

        Patience y’all, he’s oozing with talent obviously but the results have to be there before he earns his spot on the team.

      • LDS

        The Reds were out of it in practical terms much earlier. He should have played over Farmer. As should some of the younger guys over Suarez, Stephenson over Barnhart, etc.

      • greenmtred

        That’s close to being apples and oranges, Alan. Suarez and Moustakis are both veterans–slumping badly, but with solid records of accomplishment at the MLB level. Suarez ultimately responded and hit very well at the end, but I would have liked to see other options at third, admittedly. AA had to get playing time because the outfield was riddled with injuries and the farm had few viable options. LDS, I don’t think that the Reds were out of it particularly early. St. Louis went on a tear and the Reds slumped, but streaks–good and bad–always end, and that didn’t happen until Sept.

  4. CFD3000

    More reps for Barrero can only be a good thing. And if he’s getting those at bats working on the adjustments he’ll need to make at the major league level that’s even better. I think it would be a huge mistake not to give Barrero 400 or more at bats at SS in 2022, and I don’t even want to hear about moving him to CF. I hope he kills it in Winter Ball and Carrie’s that success to a starting spot at SS next April. Thanks for the updates Doug!

    • CFD3000

      “Carrie’s” as in – makes his at bats a Stephen King level nightmare for opposing pitchers, of course. Freakin’ spell check…

    • JB

      I agree. I really don’t think the Reds are going anywhere this season. Put Barrero at short and Senzel in center for the season and give them 400 to 500 at bats. It’s time to see what they have for 2024. Same for the young pitchers.

      • David

        Yeah, if Senzel lasts 400 at bats. Kind of doubtful.

        And Winker too. They both get hurt consistently.

      • MBS

        I wonder if Winker became our DH, how much that would help him stay healthy? I know a lot of people, myself included have assumed Moustakes would be a good fit at DH. Maybe he’d be a better utility guy since he can play 3B, 2B, and 1B. It might be hard to have 3 OF without going to FA. Naquin, Senzel, Shogo, Aquino, Friedl, and Cedrola That’s 6 guys who you can’t count on either because of injury, lack of results, or lack of experience.

      • 2020ball

        So just give up on the season before its played? Friggin insane some of the stuff I read on here. We can see what we have for 2024 and try and compete at the same time.

    • greenmtred

      We’re accustomed to thinking of him as a shortstop, but the Reds are pretty weak at both positions, and he seemingly has the athleticism to play either.

  5. Rick in Va

    Did this happen before the lockout began? It was my understanding that this sort of communication was not permitted with players on the 40 man roster. From the Sporting News:

    “During the lockdown, no major league free agents can sign and no trades can be made. Players have no access to any sort of team facilities, which is especially troublesome for those rehabbing their way back from serious injuries. Basically, nobody employed by a team in a non-playing capacity can have any sort of communication with players.”

    • Doug Gray

      Yes. It happened early this past week.

      • Rick in Va

        Thanks Doug, that clears it up. I imagine clubs were hurrying to beat the deadline on that sort of thing.

  6. Bob Purkey

    My question is, what position is he going to play in winter ball, SS or CF

    • 2020ball

      I’d be shocked if it wasn’t SS

  7. Mark Moore

    I like this move. More time at higher levels is what he needs to develop all aspects of his game. And, as noted, the lock-out really has a big impact on the younger players who won’t be in the position to get the personal training the big stars can afford.

  8. kyblu50

    What I Don’t Understand Is Why Does No One Talk About the Salary Of the Fans and Their Families That Have To Pay More Because Of the Greed Of Others ….

    Baseball Was Suppose To Be For Families Not Teams and Their Players ….

    • Mark Moore

      Which is exactly why the MiLB teams and parks should flourish in a year like this. Way more affordable and plenty of entertainment. Plus, with team names like the “Rocket City Trash Pandas” how can you possibly miss?

  9. west larry

    I’m sure fans “salaries” range from tens of thousands a to a million a year. I think what needs to be considered here is 1] a 50/50% share of revenue between players and teams, and 2] a floor of, say i million and a ceiling of 15 million.

    • Doug Gray

      The problem with your plan is that the owners make a lot of money from owning the baseball team that they don’t consider “baseball revenue” that only exists because of the baseball team. They also won’t open their books to show their actual revenue that they do consider “baseball revenue”. Also not sure you can truly make the numbers work on your salary scale.

      • BK

        Yes, but any revenue sharing plan would obviously include audited financial reports. So, that’s really not the problem.

        The real problem is that the players want nothing to do with a revenue sharing-based approach. They like the approach that generates record setting contracts nearly every year. Similarly, the large market teams like the current arrangement, too. They enjoy a competitive advantage at securing the best free agents and they make more money than their small market competitors. Thus, we have a system that neither fosters competition among all teams and unevenly distributes payroll to the players.

      • Doug Gray

        The problem is that the owners are never, ever going to agree to open up the books.

      • BK

        MLBPA already has the right have CPAs audit the books of MLB teams WRT sections in the CBA pertaining to Revenue sharing (see pages 147-149 for one example I easily found).

        What I would not expect the owners to do is open their books unless revenue sharing is in place. It would be foolish of them to provide that level of insight unless revenue sharing is in place. You simply can’t have revenue sharing without audits.

        Other sports have revenue sharing and the owners offered revenue sharing last year. The CBA would indeed have to spell out the types of income that count WRT revenue sharing. Baseball teams are not the only ones that often own adjacent properties to their franchise, I’m sure there are some precedents in other sports that inform this.

        But alas, the MLBPA does not want revenue sharing under any circumstances, so this is all a moot point.

      • Doug Gray

        This is both true and untrue.

        The MLBPA gets a look at *some* of the financials, but they do not get a look at all of them.

      • BK

        Just to be clear, clubs are required to provide their financial statements in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), just like any other company would have to do. There is a detailed list of what is included in revenue on pages 130-132. They must report ALL income prescribed in the agreement. If we’re objective, the list is pretty comprehensive of what most of us would identify as “baseball revenue”.

        The types of items that I’ve read are in dispute include club ownership of local broadcast companies associated with local media agreements and real estate ventures that directly benefit from baseball. The best example I can think of is the Cardinals own a city block or bars/restaurants just across from their stadium, some with excellent sightlines to the game; all of which are very popular on game days. I understand Atlanta has a similar setup, but I haven’t been to a game there since they moved into their current stadium. But those types or revenues could absolutely be included through negotiation.

        Of note, I’ve lived in St. Louis and been to their current park many times. Their payroll went up commensurate with the revenue bump they received by their nearby property. I remember reading an article in the local paper explaining how the property gave the team a competitive advantage over similarly sized markets.

      • Doug Gray

        It’s been about two years now, so there’s not much of a chance I’m going to find the quote, but I recall Tony Clark talking about the split in revenue and about how they had a “good idea” of what the revenues were but there were some areas they didn’t get looks.

        I’m guessing it was the periphery stuff, as well as things like the teams now trading straight cash in the local TV deals for ownership stakes in the RSNs, which of course, hides baseball revenues as being “baseball revenues”.

    • LDS

      Salaries/contracts should be market driven. Professional baseball players have unique and short-lived skill sets. This is unlike the commercial world where careers can run well past retirement. Further, in the real world, if you don’t like your job and you need a change, generally you just quit and go elsewhere. The CBA and the anti-trust exemption limits such options in the baseball world. The fact that professional baseball gets to treat player contracts as depreciable assets for tax purposes (which they are), suggests to me that baseball should require full financial disclosure, just as required by publicly traded companies. For example, Cincinnati should include the usual forward-looking statements, itemization of revenue sources, etc. found in financial statements of commercial companies, audit reviews by public auditors, etc. In other words, teams like Cincinnati should be required to demonstrate publicly that they are operating in good faith as a going concern and not simply laundering money to the owners. Personally, I think baseball’s service and salary arrangement is somewhat similar to the reserve clause that Curt Flood challenged. Bottom line for me is that although baseball players make much more money than the average fan, owners still hold all the cards. And the vast majority of professionals never score a Seager/Scherzer style contract and if not on the 40-man roster, i.e., a major league contract, my reading of the news says that the player can make more money working at McDonalds. So, the risk falls to the players more so than the owners.

      • VegasRed

        Currently the imbalance is 57% owners to 43% players. And that is unaudited but best guess by experts. The owners are going to win this round and probably kill the golden goose in time if the current trend is not significantly reversed.

        Meanwhile the NHL, MLS, NBA and NFL all have a better story, if not the better game.