Cincinnati Reds’ right fielder Scott Schebler is looking to solidify his hold on a starting role

Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports /
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Scott Schebler had a rough start to his Cincinnati Reds’ career, but turned it around in the second half.

In total Schebler had a nice introductory season to the Cincinnati Reds’ fans.  He batted .265 while driving in 40 after taking over right field from the traded Jay Bruce.  He also played just above average defensive right field.

Schebler started out slow, batting .188 over 27 games in a platoon with Adam Duvall in left field.  His OBP was .246 and his OBS was .590.  When he was optioned to Louisville, his season began to turn around.

While he was in Louisville, Schebler put up all world numbers.  He batted .311 with a .370 OBP over 75 games.  If he played 162 games in the majors with those sort of numbers, he would have been in the National League MVP discussion with Joey Votto and Kris Bryant.

After he came back up from Louisville, he batted .290 with a .357 OBP.  He hit eight of his nine home runs in his 45 games after becoming the full-time right fielder.  He also ended up with 36 runs created over 82 games in Cincinnati.

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Defensively, Schebler is an improvement over Bruce.  He was bad in left to start the season and rough in relief of Billy Hamilton in center, but good in right.  He saved 4 runs in his late season audition.

Scott Schebler has to hold off other Cincinnati Reds in order to remain the starter in right field.

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The greatest internal danger to Schebler’s hold on right field is top outfield prospect Jesse Winker.  The Reds traded second baseman Brandon Phillips to make room for Peraza at second base creating a bench spot for Winker.  If Schebler gets off to a slow start Winker can step into the outfield and bat almost anywhere in the line-up.

The other player on the roster that will challenge Schebler is back-up center fielder Desmond Jennings.  He has experience playing the outfield and could bat lead-off allowing Hamilton to slide down in the order.

If Jennings is the full-season replacement for Schebler, it’s probably going to be a bad season for the Reds.

If Schebler has an injury or gets off to another slow start, the Reds could recall Dilson Herrera from Louisville.  He is ready to play in the majors, but the Reds want to keep him in Triple-A until there is a place to play him every day.  Peraza could slide into right field and let Herrera bat sixth or second with his high OBP skill.

The Reds could also let one of their newer right-handed hitters platoon with Schebler.  Both Patrick Kivlehan, who came over at the end of last year, and Ryan Raburn, who the Reds signed from the Colorado Rockies during the off-season, would love the chance to start against left-handed pitchers.  Seeing too many left-handers may have been what did in Schebler at the start of 2016.

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Whatever Schebler’s status, the Reds need to use 2017 to figure out who will a part of the future.  Schebler’s second half in 2016 made him look like a likely long term answer in right.  The Reds just need to make sure there isn’t an even better solution already on their roster.