Cincinnati Reds Top Prospect Report – Jesse Winker

Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports /

How did the Cincinnati Reds’ top prospects do during the 2016 season?

While the Cincinnati Reds struggled to a 68-94 record, there is plenty of reason for hope in the future. The team is loaded with talented prospects across all of their minor-league teams, and many of those players started off with promising starts in their careers.

Let’s take a look at how the Reds’ top 10 prospects (per MLB Pipeline at the start of the season) performed as we head into the offseason.

Jesse Winker (OF)

2016 Stats (Triple-A):

.303/.397/.384, 22 2B, 3 HR, 45 RBI, 59 BB, 59 K, 0 SB

The team’s top hitting prospect is got his first action in Triple-A and has acclimated nicely. Winker’s plate discipline continues to be his top skill, with a career-low strikeout rate and a usual strong walk rate. The left fielder has been lacking some thump this season with only twenty-five extra-base hits, but that should come around with time.  He won the Arizona Fall League MVP award two years ago.

The emergence of Adam Duvall as the Reds’ everyday left fielder means the organization can take their time with Winker and not bring him to the big leagues until he’s ready. The club moved Jay Bruce before the trade deadline, which opened up a starting spot in right field that could very well go to Duvall or Winker in 2017.

Winker will have an uphill battle to make the opening day roster in 2017 with Scott Schebler blocking the way.

Schebler is the default right fielder after stepping in when Jay Bruce left for the New York Mets.  Like Winker, Schebler bats left and throws left.  That means only one of them will be an everyday starter in Cincinnati in 2017.

Adam Duvall will start in left field in Cincinnati for 2017.  It would be hard to imagine that Winker would be able to beat out an All-Star for a starting role.  Winker could spell the right-handed hitting left fielder.  There was talk about him making the team out of spring training in 2016 and that was a far cry from what needed to happen.

Winker has a series of small issues that will hold him back from taking the next step.  His inability in the minors to hit home runs is the first.  With his lack of top end speed, Winker doesn’t have a spot in the order right now.

Next: The forgotten Cincinnati Red - Tim Adleman

Want your voice heard? Join the Blog Red Machine team!

Write for us!

Winker projects as a number two hitter, but with Votto in Cincinnati it isn’t obvious that batting them back-to-back makes sense.  Winker then would fall down to the sixth spot in the line-up.  As a long term position in the order for an outfielder that doesn’t make sense.  Winker has more work to do in 2017.