• Fri. Jun 2nd, 2023

By Conrad Clowers

Herald Sports Writer

Shortstop is a tradition-rich, coveted position for the Cincinnati Reds. Some of the biggest names in Reds history have played there.

From 1970 to 2004 Dave Concepcion and Barry Larkin manned the position. Back-to-back Reds Hall of Famers, both players were intregal parts of World Championship teams. Larkin went on to be an MLB Hall of Famer. Many say Concepcion should be inducted into Cooperstown.

Since Larkins last season of ’04 the position has had a number of hit and miss prospects. None have come close to the longevity or the success of Larkin or Concepcion.

The team now feels they have a young prospect that may have some of the skills the two Reds legends have. It’s early to tell if he would be mentioned in the same sentence as a Concepcion or a Larkin. In fact, the odds are stacked against him for having a fraction of the individual or team success as either of the Reds legends.

Jose Barrero’s time has come. Barrero took over the Reds starting shortstop duties for the 2023 Reds at the beginning of the season.

The 25-year-old Cuban born Barrero may be a baby in MLB years, but he has been around the game a good number of years. Signed by the Reds as an international  free agent in June 2017, Barrero started his Reds career. 

It was in 2018 he made his professional debut with the Dayton Dragons. After a series of other Minor League stints, Barrero was invited to Reds Spring Training in 2020. It was in August of 2020, where the Reds shortstop would get his first taste of big league ball. Not unlike many other fledglings in MLB, Barreros stats for his first season didn’t exactly overwhelm. He hit .194 with no home runs and 2 RBI’s in 24 games. It would be two years later after battling injury the talented Cuban would get another taste of MLB life. Last August 6, Barrero would hit his first MLB home run against Milwaukee. It was a coming out party as he would hit 2 home runs that game. 

As expected by many, the Reds have gotten off to a bad start. They are currently in last place and at press time are coming off the short end of a 4-game sweep against the Pittsburg Pirates.

The good news for Barrero is that he has the fourth highest batting  average on the team. The bad news is Barrero is only hitting .245 for the 2023 season. There is still plenty of time for Barrero to raise his average and the Reds to turn things around. The future could be bright for the dynamic Cuban born Barrero.

There will likely never be another Larkin or Concepcion at shortstop for Cincinnati. It would be unfair for anyone to even think of putting that task on Barrero. Defensively his talent is undeniable. How that will translate into long term success is anyone’s guess.

As they say in boxing, there’s always a punchers chance. Jose Barrero has just that.