Reds infielder Jose Barrero has been sidelined with a sore left wrist, and that injury has now been revealed as issue with his hamate bone, The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans reports (via Twitter). Barrero is going to visit a hand specialist for a second opinion, but the expectation is that he’ll miss six weeks of action.
The injury appears to have originally occurred earlier in the offseason, as Reds manager David Bell told The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Bobby Nightengale and other reporters that Barrero “said he felt something this winter and took a little bit of time off, then it was fine. He did something on the field a couple of days ago that re-aggravated it. It’s one of those things without having the ability to talk to him [during the lockout], we had no idea that it was going on.”
The result is that Barrero looks set to begin the season on the injured list, which is an unfortunate setback for one of the Reds’ most promising youngsters. Barrero has seen a bit of action in each of the last two MLB seasons, hitting only .197/.242/.248 over 124 total plate appearances. Much more production came at the minor league level in 2021, as Barrero hit a combined .303/.380/.539 with 19 home runs over 380 plate appearances with Double-A Chattanooga (180 PA) and Triple-A Louisville (200 PA).
It was a nice showing for the player Baseball America ranks as the top prospect in Cincinnati’s farm system, and the 33rd-best prospect overall in the sport. According to BA’s scouting report, Barrero projects as “an above-average defender at shortstop,” and Reds GM Nick Krall said earlier this week that Barrero’s spring work would focus on the shortstop position rather than in center field. Barrero made seven appearances as a center fielder last year as Cincinnati looked for way to get him into the lineup, as Kyle Farmer emerged as the Reds’ regular shortstop.
Since Farmer can play multiple positions, Barrero isn’t exactly blocked as the potential shortstop of the future, though his development will be put on hold as he recovers from his hamate injury. With the Reds’ recent selloff of higher-priced veteran players, contending doesn’t seem to be the team’s top priority for 2022, so Barrero may likely get a longer stretch of playing time later in the season when he’s healthy and if the Reds have fallen out of the pennant race.