A taste of the Majors in 2020, and the struggles that went with it, haven't done anything to dampen Jose Barrero's confidence. If anything, the experience has helped him find another gear.
Barrero scored a personal-best four runs, stole a base and fell one hit shy of his single-game high of five he collected in 2018.
Louisville manager Pat Kelly sees a different player than the one who struggled in his Major League debut.
"I think being in the Majors was a positive for him," Kelly said. "I think it gave him an opportunity to realize what being a big leaguer is like and what it takes to make it and be an everyday player. There's always a worry in development about pushing a guy up a level too soon, but  was such an odd year with no Minor League season. He was able to get up there, get some experience and play in meaningful games."
The 23-year-old saved his onslaught for the middle innings when Louisville put up 15 of its 17 runs. After singling in his first at-bat, Barrero kicked off the Bats' seven-run fifth inning with his sixth home run. The No. 4 Reds prospect singled again in the sixth and cleared the bases with a double during a six-run seventh to cap his evening. He was removed in the eighth as part of a double switch.
Entering the game with hits in 13 of his last 15 games, Barrero had still seen his average dip thanks to a 6-for-28 stretch in his last seven contests. It represented one of the few skids the Cuba native has endured in what has been his best season as a professional. After batting .300 with an .848 OPS in 40 games with Double-A Chattanooga, Barrero -- who changed his surname from Garcia to honor his late mother -- is outdoing that in his first taste of Triple-A competition.
The shortstop is batting .309/.404/.553 with 11 extra-base hits and 24 RBIs in 25 games with the Bats. Between his two stops, Barrero has put together a .303/.381/.508 with 27 extra-base hits, including 12 home runs, 52 RBIs and 12 stolen bases.
"I see a maturity in him that is different from what I saw at the alternate site earlier this season," Kelly said. "I think the time he spent with Chattanooga was really good for him. It allowed him to slow things down and helped him just play his game."