The 2017 season was the last one that will see Jesse Winker as a prospect. He would finish the year a few days and a few at-bats short of no longer qualifying for prospect lists. The Reds would start Winker out in Triple-A Louisville. A week later he would make his Major League debut in Cincinnati. It was a short stay, though, as he would get two at-bats. The second at-bat, though, was a 2-run double. When he returned to the Bats, he struggled for the final 12 games of the month. He hit just .225/.289/.275 in that span. Overall he would hit .268/.349/.324 in April with more walks than strikeouts, but without much power.

Things turned around in May. Over the first two weeks of the month he would hit .340 with two doubles, his first home run of the season and seven walks. Things were even better in the next 14 games for Jesse Winker. The outfielder hit .380/.439/.520 with four more doubles and another home run. In 115 plate appearances he would smack six extra-base hits, walk 13 times and strikeout just 17 times.

June started out slowly for Jesse Winker. Over the first two weeks he would hit just .189 with no extra-base hits. He did walk more than he struck out in that stretch, but the hits just weren’t falling in. He caught fire over the next four games, though, going 9-16 with five doubles and four walks. The next day he was in Tampa Bay with the Reds. He would go 2-9 with a double and two RBI before heading back to Louisville. Over the last week with the Bats he would go 3-14. That four game stretch carried the month as he finished with a .284/.367/.373 line with nine walks and 11 strikeouts.

The slump continued into July for Jesse Winker, who hit .222 over the first five games of the month. He was recalled to the big leagues for the next 11 days. There was only one start in that stretch as he would go 1-5 with four walks in five games. When he returned to Triple-A he went off. In the final 12 games of the month he would hit .372/.449/.512 with six doubles. It was a hot-and-cold month, but finished with a .328/.414/.426 line overall.

When August rolled around Jesse Winker joined the big league club for the rest of the season. Things started out well for the then 23-year-old. In his first four games he hit two home runs and had a .313 average. He would go into a slump after that for the next week, hitting just .118 with no extra-base hits. As quickly as that slump came on, it disappeared and Winker went on a tear for two weeks. From August 11th through the 24th he hit .440 and slugged .720 over 11 games played. Unfortunately, he would spend the final week of the month on the disabled list with a hip injury.

That injury kept him on the disabled list into the second week of September. Winker returned to the lineup on the 12th and spent most of the next next 10 days starting, going 9-34 (.265) with two doubles and two home runs. However, from that point forward in the season he only started two more games, pinch hitting in six others and going 5-13 in that stretch.

For all 2017 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).

Jesse Winker Spray Chart

Jesse Winker Scouting Report

Hitting | This is where Jesse Winker shines. He can use the entire field, understands the zone and has a high rate of contact. His hit tool is above-average and could even be plus in the future.

Power | This is probably the most divisive part of Winker’s game. During the past he’s shown more power than he has the last few seasons. In the Major Leagues, with the “juiced baseball” he showed significantly more power than he did in the Minors during 2017. In the long-term, I believe he’ll hit for average-ish power, showing 15-20 home runs. Perhaps more if the baseball doesn’t change.

Running | He’s a below-average runner.

Arm | While his arm has improved over the years, it’s still a tad below-average.

Defense | He profiles best as a left fielder because of his arm, but the Reds have been splitting his time in both left and right field. He’s a slightly below-average fielder.

At the plate is where Jesse Winker will bring his value. He projects to hit for a good average and is likely to draw plenty of walks, giving him a high on-base percentage, too. Just how much power he hits for can take him from being a good hitter to being a very good hitter. He’s going to give back some of that value on defense as a corner outfielder, though. Winker is about as safe of a prospect the Reds have had in a while because it’s tough to see how he won’t hit, but his defensive position and questions about the power limit could limit his ceiling somewhat. The bat could be All-Star caliber at it’s best. If he winds up in left field he’ll provide more defensive value than if the organization keeps doing what they did in 2017 and play him in right field more frequently.

25 Responses

  1. Shamrock

    Please explain this “juiced ball”……is this a theory, hypothesis, or a fact?
    How do you go about “juicing” a baseball? Why would the entire league play with a juicy ball the entire season?? (even belichek and brady only got away with the deflated ball for one game, and they’re the crookedest of all the crooks)

    Who all is actually buying this??

    • Wes

      I’m buying. Just curious if it’s gonna be juiced in 2018 again?

    • Patrick

      It is actually quite easy for the ball to change. I expect that is wound tighter. therefore it has less give which means less energy is lost when the bat contacts the ball. this means greater energy goes into the ball creating an increase in the balls travel. It can also account for the pitchers complaint of the ball being slicker harder to hold since it does not give as much. In working for an MLB team doing analytics and simulation there is a lot of physics and mathematics that go into predicting the travel of the baseball. As a mechanical engineer it was an interesting contract to work on trying to predict where the ball was going to go so that it could be caught more often.

    • Doug Gray

      Everyone is actually buying this. There have been multiple studies on it. The new baseball is adding 5-10 feet on batted balls. It’s also caused some problems with sliders at times during the season, too.

      The biggest issue lies with the baseball specifications. They use different facilities and the tolerance for an “allowed” baseball is 25% on several things. That’s huge and it’s led to baseballs that are very different than the one which was used a few years ago.

      We have no idea if baseball plans to tighten up the regulations. Which is, at least in speculative circles, causing problems in free agency approach this offseason. Pitchers who were giving up a lot of home runs – if you go to the old ball, will project much better. Likewise, hitters who had “breakout” power seasons (Cozart, Gennett as examples) – teams could be very hesitant to pay them because what happens if they aren’t getting that extra 10 feet on fly balls anymore? They may lose 5-7 home runs and a lot of value along the way.

      • Wes

        Doug, So are you saying since this article Greg linked mlb is admitting to juiced ball and are now considering doing something about it ? I’ve heard you mention that before but that article to me reads like mlb isn’t ready to move anytime soon.

      • Doug Gray

        I’m suggesting that no one knows. But, if they do decide to tighten up the amount of variance allowed in the baseball manufacturing process for an approved baseball, that we could see rather big changes offensively next year.

      • Wes

        There’s no way they adjust anything by start of next season then. Too much inconclusive at this point. Good for reds!

  2. The Duke

    Write his name in the lineup for LF in pen and let it go. Duvall and Schebler can platoon in RF, then have Schebler play occasional home game in CF and Duvall spell Winker in LF when he needs an off day.

    • CP

      Agreed. Ideally they find a trade partner to get a CF that isn’t a liability on the offensive side of the ball. Yellich from the Marlins, JBJ from the Redsox, Inciarte from the Braves (They need to make room for their prize prospect that is a CF)….

    • Norwood Nate

      Outside of trading one of the corner guys this seems the best idea on usage. We absolutely need to insert Winker’s bat into the top of the order next season.

  3. George

    I am in the camp that says play him everyday in left.I also believe Schebler has shown enough to be in right most days. I would play Duval in 3 or 4 days a week . He could ststart 1 day for Winkler and 1 for Schebler then mix him in as an occasional start for Suarez or if Joey ever takes a day off at 1st

    • Cbus

      Price won’t ever platoon Duvall and Schebler. I think you have to trade one of them. I lean towards trading Schebler since I see more risk in him regressing. Duvall has proven he is an ~.800+ OPS guy with good D on the cheap for 2 straight years now.

      If they don’t resign Cozart you role with Peraza at short and give him a few months to see if he can be a .300+ avg hitter or not. If not you start thinking about calling up Senzel to play third and move Suarez back to SS for a season or more.

      Scooter gets first shot at 2B, if his bat returns to normal you start giving Herrera a chance to see if he could stick as a starter.

      Hamilton gets 1 more year in CF but you seriously start looking for an upgrade via trade for the next 2-3 years until Trammell or Siri might be ready.

      Overall the 2018 offense is probably going to be worse than 2017 when a lot of guys had average or career years so the pitching better step it up!

      • redleggingfordayz

        While I agree with trading one of the corner OF’s because Brian Price has proven he is inept at handling playing time, I am curious on a few of your other points. Why do you see Schebler regressing compared to Duvall? Especially after the huge fades in the second half for Duvall. Schebler is actually due for a bit of an increase in his numbers if you look closely.

        His career BABIP is .273, 2017’s was .248. Especially when you factor in his down 1.5 months due to the shoulder injury, he is actually more likely to go back to career norms of a .260/.330/.450+. O-Swing% and Z-Swing% are also really reasonable and in line with his history. Especially with Duvall being older, and about to be on the wrong side of 30, he is more likely to regress. Not to mention his BABIP was decently higher in 2017 (though not really outside the SD), while also walking less, and having his ISO drop .025 compared to 2016.

      • Cbus

        Duvall and Schebler are very similar. I slightly prefer Duvall because he is RH which fits this team better and he has proven for 2 straight years that he can produce in the MLB and Schebler has done it for 1. His second half declines 2 years in a row are concerning but might be correctable with more rest or something else.

        Anecdotally I also think Schebler has a bigger swing and I see him struggle often with high heat and good off-speed pitches. Pitchers will have a book on him and he’ll have to adjust. Maybe he will maybe he won’t.

      • redleggingfordayz

        Projected 2018 lineup without any trades:

        Winker: L
        Peraza: S
        Votto: L
        Suarez: R
        Schebler: L
        Duvall: R
        Scooter: L
        Tucker: S

        How do the Reds need another RH bat over a LH one? They are basically even top to bottom. Not to mention 75% of pitchers are RH in MLB. So really not seeing your point at all there. As for the “Big Swing” ,this leans towards old scout qualifiers. Plenty of folks with big swings have been fine(our own Adam Dunn is a perfect example actually). If you can offset your big swing with good pitch recognition and walks (like Schebler has shown through his major and minor league career), it offsets. I will certainly agree with him chasing high fastballs and needing to make more solid contact on slow stuff though. But, once again, I am not sure how Duvall’s physically apparent declines in the second half are more easily fixable than Schebler’s tough time on slow pitches. Just my thoughts :)!

  4. KRisg

    do the reds stand to get an extra year of control by keeping him in the minors for a couple weeks to start the season?

  5. Shawn

    What about Scooter in RF, Winker in Left. Trade Hamilton and Duval. Need to go after a CFer, either FA or trade. Yelich would be great!

  6. donny

    Doug is there some way to find out percentage wise how many balls are hit to left field versus right field in MLB.

    And might that be the reason they have Winker in right field ? Giving Winker is not as good defensively. Less balls hit to right field means less percentage of errors that can be made.

    Is it the reds with there new analytics maybe ?