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.”