Jose Barrero made the jump from High-A in 2019 to the big leagues for the final five weeks of 2020. With a jump that big it’s not surprising that he struggled.
In 2021, the Reds sent Barrero to Double-A Chattanooga to continue his development, particularly at the plate after his struggles at the highest level in 2020.
“We wanted him to improve his consistency at the plate,” Reds vice president of player development Shawn Pender said. “We wanted his pitch selection and his at-bats to be more productive.”
That’s exactly what happened.
In the first half of the season in Double-A, the 23-year-old shortstop posted a career-high walk rate. When he moved up to Triple-A Louisville in the second half of the season his walk rate got even better.
It wasn’t just the improvement in the pitch selection, though. The power output took big steps forward in 2021 as well.
“I’ve been working a lot on my body, and my flexibility as well,” the 6-foot-2, 175-pound Barrero said in spring training. “I feel very good about my body and can’t wait to see what the 2021 season brings.”
The 2021 season brought a lot for Barrero. Noticeably bigger and stronger, the shortstop set a career high with 19 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A in just 85 games. He also had a 426-foot home run during the 2021 Futures Game at Coors Field.
“We felt like we were fortunate to get him as an amateur free agent because he had such a great skill set,” Pender said.
After Barrero signed in June 2017 from Cuba, his all-around skill set really began to show itself in 2021. He hit .303/.380/.539 and stole 16 bases in the minors before being called up for the final six weeks of the regular season.
The next step for Barrero will be to continue to improve and make adjustments in the big leagues. He has nothing left to prove in the minors.
— Yerlin Confidan, an 18-year-old outfielder making his professional debut in 2021, led the Arizona Complex League with 11 home runs in 50 games.