Cincinnati Reds start first game with Jesse Winker on top

Jesse Winker of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Jesse Winker of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /
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After keeping Billy Hamilton as part of a four man rotation, the Cincinnati Reds leave former top prospect Jesse Winker at lead-off.

With a right-hander on the mound for game 1 of the MLB season, the Cincinnati Reds elected to bench outfielder Adam Duvall.  There was talk of him batting lead-off since he has the best overall offensive game aside from first baseman Joey Votto.  Instead, he is on the bench against right-hander Max Scherzer.

This is great news.  The Reds have finally put a premium on getting runners on base instead of speed and speed.  Originally it looked like BIlly Hamilton would bat lead-off, but he ended up batting ninth.

Jesse Winker didn’t have the best game leading off, but he did what the Reds needed him to do.  He went 0-for-3 with walk.  He also struck out three times.

That sounds bad, but that description works for now.  He saw at least thirteen pitches with that stat line.  That is a large component of what the Reds need batting front of Eugenio Suarez and Joey Votto.

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The weakness of the former top prospect also came into play.  He collided with Hamilton on a routine fly ball.  It was nearly disastrous as they could have both been injured and the Washington Nationals could have blown the game open.

The Cincinnati Reds did not make the right decision with center fielder Billy Hamilton.

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The Reds may the right decision to bat Winker lead-off.  They also made the wrong decision and batted Hamilton ninth.  Granted, Hamilton went 0-for-4 with 3 strikeouts.

If Hamilton deserves to bat ninth, he cannot be a starting MLB outfielder.  No amount of defense will make up for batting an outfielder behind the likes of Homer Bailey and Sal Romano.  This is a bad decision.

Right fielder Scott Schebler batted fifth.  Sliding Hamilton in there with OBP batters in front of him may allow his bunting to improve and his speed to flourish.  If there is a runner on first and or second with less than two outs, Hamilton should bunt.

The rest of the batting order, though, looks to be working well.  There were too many strikeouts in game one, but it was just one game.  The strategy of game one matters more than the outcome.

Next: Joey Votto is the best offensive player in the NL

Going forward, the Reds need to continue to let Winker or Duvall bat lead-off.  That will allow Hamilton to bat somewhere where his speed could make a difference.  That is what this team has needed all along.