Cincinnati Reds’ Top Prospect Jesse Winker On A Tear In Double-A Pensacola

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We may not see him don a Cincinnati Reds uniform until sometime in 2016, but left fielder Jesse Winker has been showing the world what he’s capable of with his performance at the dish lately.

The Reds No. 1 prospect (per MLB.com) is slashing a crisp .311/.404/.534 for Double-A Pensacola since the start of the second half, but it’s been his tear in August that is really turning some heads. Since the start of the month, Winker is hitting .392/.466/.745 with three doubles, five home runs, and eight runs batted in.

But that’s not all. As of this writing, the 21-year-old has gone 9-for-15 in his last four games, homering in each one.

Update: Winker has homered in a fifth consecutive game. The man is on fire.

Even more impressive is the fact that all four of those home runs have gone to the opposite field. Per Blue Wahoos blog Hook, Line and Sinker, here’s how Winker’s 12 home runs this season have been distributed (tack on one more home run to left field to account for his Aug. 14 home run):

When you add in his impressive walk rate (13.8 percent for his minor league career) to his ability to hit the ball to all fields, Winker reminds you a bit of one Joey Votto, eh?

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Winker’s hot streak has given a nice bump to his overall numbers after a disappointing first half (.248/.352/.349, 9 doubles, two triples, 3 homers, 17 RBI in 60 games). He’s now hitting .274/.374/.427 with a team-leading 32 extra-base hits and 44 RBI.

His second half surge has also helped to put the Blue Wahoos in contention for a playoff spot. The Reds’ Double-A affiliate had a miserable 25-43 first half, but a 27-21 record since the all-star break has them half of a game back from first place in the Southern League South with 23 regular season games remaining (the division winner in each half is guaranteed a playoff spot).

Whether Pensacola makes the playoffs or not, the Reds are likely not going to call up Winker in September, if for no other reason than the fact that he’s not on the 40-man roster. But his play has got to be an encouraging sign for the organization, especially after a disappointing start to the year. With the 2016 left field situation anything but settled, you have to think Winker will be among the many contenders to grab the spot in spring training.

Next: Reds fall to Dodgers in John Lamb's debut