Cincinnati Reds: Five players to be thankful for heading into next season

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 05: Jose Peraza #9 of the Cincinnati Reds is greeted at home plate by Joey Votto #19 and Scooter Gennett #3 after hitting a solo home run in the first inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on September 5, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 05: Jose Peraza #9 of the Cincinnati Reds is greeted at home plate by Joey Votto #19 and Scooter Gennett #3 after hitting a solo home run in the first inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on September 5, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Reds
CINCINNATI, OH – JUNE 24: Jesse Winker #33 of the Cincinnati Reds rounds second base after hitting a three-run home run during the seventh inning of the game against the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park on June 24, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated Chicago 8-6. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Reds are likely to make some major additions to the team this offseason, but they already have a lot of talented players on the team. What five players should Reds fans be most thankful to have on the roster as we head into next season?

With the offseason revving up and the Hot Stove chatter in full swing, the Cincinnati Reds are sure to make some improvements to their roster this winter. However, the Reds are not devoid of talent. In fact, outside of their starting pitching, the Reds roster is loaded with talent. But, who tops the list as far as production, potential, and contract status heading into 2019?

The Cincinnati Reds front office has made it abundantly clear that they’re going to upgrade the roster and increase payroll this offseason. But, before the lineup gets stuffed this holiday season, let’s break down some of the players that Reds fans should be most thankful for as the team hopes to end a long-suffering stretch of losing.

5. Jesse Winker, Outfielder

Jesse Winker’s 2018 season didn’t end the way he had planned, but he sure showcased his abilities and what he can bring to the team in 2019. Winker slashed .299/.405/.431 and smashed 7 home runs and 37 RBIs in 74 starts last season.

Jesse Winker had a roller coaster season in 2018. During the first month of the season, the rookie hit .305 off opposing pitching with a .414 on-base percentage. Those are Joey Votto-esque. The power wasn’t there early, as he didn’t hit a homer through the first 44 games of the season. Winker did, however, have 9 RBIs during the month of April.

May was none to kind to the rookie, as his average was only .174 and his OBP dropped below .300. Winker was in a slump, so much so that he was effectively benched for the three-man outfield rotation of Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton, and Scott Schebler.

His benching didn’t last long and neither did his slump. Winker returned to form in the month of June, slashing .408/.432/.513 with 5 round trippers and 20 RBIs. Jesse got his groove back and every pitcher he faced was on notice.

Unfortunately for Winker, his season ended abruptly when he injured his shoulder while rounding the bases during a ninth-inning rally against the St. Louis Cardinals. Winker was placed on the 60-day DL and declared out for the remainder of the season.

Reds Country should be excited for the lefty’s return to the lineup in 2019. Winker will bring a power bat back to the middle of the batting order that the Reds sorely missed in the second half of the season. Winker is just 25-years-old and under team control through the 2023 season. Reds fans have a lot to be thankful for with Winker occupying rightfield in 2019.