[ed. note - “With interest in the Washington Nationals’ farm system at a high level, Federal Baseball has begun a series featuring the top 30 prospects in the system as of late last season, according to Baseball America. We will start with No. 30 and work our way to the top over the next few weeks, with one prospect highlighted each weekday.”]
That could make things challenging for Tres Barrera, rated the No. 23 prospect in the Nats’ system by Baseball America late last season.
The Texas native – after an 80-game suspension earlier in his career – played in 54 games and hit .201 with Triple-A Rochester this past year.
He is a rare player who has spent all of his minor league career with just one team per season: short-season Auburn in 2016, low Single-A Hagerstown the next year, high Single-A Potomac in 2018, and Double-A Harrisburg in 2019.
A University of Texas product, Barrera, 27, played in two games with two at-bats with the Nationals in 2019 and then was used in 30 games and hit .264 this past season in-between time in the minors with Triple-A Rochester for 54 games.
There was certainly a learning curve in The Show, and manager Dave Martinez pointed that out after a game this past summer in which Barrera was called for catcher’s interference with Jorge Soler of the eventual World Series champion Atlanta Braves at the plate.
“The catcher’s interference is something that, as a catcher, you’ve got to know,” Martinez said. “Soler is up there, and he’s a big guy with a long swing. You can’t sit as deep with him up there, because he does have that long swing. And Tres likes to get up underneath hitters. So it’s something that he’s got to learn. You’ve got to adjust to every hitter. You’ve got to know which hitters have those swings like that.”
Keibert Ruiz is certainly the catcher of the future, with Riley Adams, acquired from Toronto for Brad Hand, also in the mix.
That may have Barrera on the outside looking in during Spring Training and a possible starting point at Triple-A Rochester in 2022.