The 2022 season for Jose Barrero went about as poorly as one could imagine. After crushing the ball in Double-A and Triple-A in 2021 and winning the organization’s minor league player of the year award after hitting .303/.380/.539 with 16 steals, 36 walks, and 84 strikeouts. He struggled in sporadic playing time when he was called up to the big leagues late in the year. In 2022 his season began with surgery to remove his broken hamate bone and when he returned to the field in May things just never got going. After putting up an OPS of .986 in Triple-A Louisville last year he returned there and hit .209/.262/.377 while his walk rate dropped in half and his strikeout rate went up by nearly 80% from where it was the year prior at the same level.
Jose Barrero was one of the very few players on the 40-man roster who didn’t show up for Redsfest last weekend. The reason for that is that he was starting to play in the Puerto Rican Winter League. Following the season he worked with Reds hitting coach Joel McKeithan on some swing adjustments – first reported by Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
A week has now gone by since Barrero joined Mayaguez and he’s played in seven games. Over his 29 plate appearances he’s hit .292 with a double, two stolen bases, seven runs scored, walked four times, and he’s struck out four times. The competition level isn’t big league caliber, though there are big leaguers in the league. There are also plenty of minor leaguers and former big leaguers all over the rosters in the league. Think of the competition level like you would a spring training game – depending on the day, and even the inning, who you match up against could be anyone from a big leaguer to a guy who might have some experience in A-ball. It’s going to be uneven.
So far Barrero hasn’t shown much power – just one double in seven games. But on the promising side of things he’s walked as often as he’s struck out, and he hasn’t struck out much (13.8% strikeout rate). Small sample size, inferior to the big leagues level of competition, etc. – it’s still good that he’s not struggling.