By Yusseff Díaz
Jose Barrero is opened some eyes in spring training for the Cincinnati Reds 2019. He has started that Spring training on fire. The number five prospect in the Cincinnati Reds farm system is hitting an eye opening .400 and launched two longballs to open , that was only the beginning.
Garcia is living up to the potential Cincinnati envisioned when they signed him for 5 million in 2016. But things weren’t always rosy for García in the minors during his time with Reds. “El Fino” (The finicky one) as he is known in Cuba started the 2018 season with the Dayton Dragons (A) in horrible fashion. In his first 60 games, the young prospect hit .202 and then Daryle Ward made him his project.
“Daryle Ward worked on my deficiencies in general. He helped me with my mechanics and my approach. His help gave me a lot more confidence at the plate and we saw the results in the second half.”
“I made a few adjustments in my swing such as having a shorter leg kick, because my long leg kick was throwing off my timing and getting in the way of making contact. “He won the player of the week honors in August when he hit .500 with 13 hits the week of August 13-19.
Being from a Caribbean Island it also took García a little time to get adjust to the climate of Ohio. “Dayton is way colder than Havana. It took a lot of will power to get used my new surroundings and this might have affected my performance”.
Having a manager in José Bolívar that spoke Spanish also helped his transition,” I appreciate everything Bolívar did for me, he made things a lot easier for in Dayton. He helped plenty on and off the field.”
García will start the season more than likely at either A+ or AA and his ETA for the Majors was for 2021 if his hot hitting hitting in the Spring and the alternative site for the Reds of 2020 earned him an early call up. “My goal for the year was to post good numbers and earn a promotion,” said García.
Debuting in the Majors
In the pandemic shortened year of 2020 the kid from Havana realized something he had been dreaming about since he started playing baseball, he was called up to the majors and made his big league debut on August 27. Although he didn’t look overmatched at the plate he hit a paltry .194.
In need of more seasoning the Reds decided to let him start the season at Chattanooga, the teams double A affiliate. In 23 games with the Lookouts he’s hitting .281 with four dingers and 17 RBI’s. With that type of hitting and a glove that is MLB ready expect the young Cuban to possibly return to “The Show” sometime this season.
Barrero’s birth name is José Israel García, but due to his mother’s death this year due to COVID-19 complications he decided to change his name by taking up her maiden name.
The young infielder made the change on May 29 of this year after her passing. Look for the shortstop to be motivated by this event in his life and to have a stellar in honor of his mother. As of today he’s slashing a robust .363/.506/ .868 in the Southern League.