Cincinnati Reds: Could Jesse Winker be the X-Factor in 2019?

CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 28: Jesse Winker #33 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a home run in the third inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park on June 28, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 28: Jesse Winker #33 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a home run in the third inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park on June 28, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

Could Jesse Winker be the X-Factor for the Cincinnati Reds? His 2017 and 2018 stats certainly suggest that he is poised to put up big numbers for 2019.

Spring has sprung, well at least in Goodyear, Arizona where Spring Training is in full swing for the Cincinnati Reds. While there is much excitement surrounding the 2019 edition of the Reds, there are a few members of last year’s squad who could prove to be significant difference makers. One of those difference makers, a possible X-factor, is Jesse Winker.

Winker enjoyed a tremendous 2018 with the Cincinnati Reds. While appearing in 89 games, he amassed a batting average right around .300 with an on-base percentage of .405. He showed some pop in the bat as well with a slugging percentage of .431 including 16 doubles, 7 home runs, and 43 RBIs.

Winker showed similar numbers in his 47 appearances during the 2017 season in both batting average, OBP, and slugging. It does beg the question what type of numbers a healthy Jesse Winker could produce in the 2019 season?

Thus far, in 14 at-bats this spring, Winker is hitting at a .286 clip with a couple of bombs early on in Spring Training contests. His 2019 projections are hovering around a batting average north of .280 with an OBS of .818.

While many of us would rather forget the 2018 season, there were some encouraging numbers within numbers as they pertain to Jesse Winker and the performance of the Cincinnati Reds. Winker appeared in his final contest of the season in a Reds 2-1 win over the Cardinals on July 23. Interestingly enough, the Reds went 22-39 the rest of the way with Jesse on the DL.

Ignoring the horrific April for a moment, the Cincinnati Reds were 30-33 between May 1 and July 23. Incidentally, another Reds outfielder whom I am very high on, Scott Schebler, was out of the line up from July 15 through August 24; he too suffering with a shoulder injury.

Not the fleetest of foot, but steady with the bat, Jesse Winker should man one of the corner outfield positions. Without a proven lead off batter, his high OBP could be the missing ingredient to that the Cincinnati Reds have been lacking at the top of the order in recent years to set the stage for the power that awaits throughout the lineup.

We very well could see Winker in the leadoff or the No. 2 hole as David Bell continues to assess the offensive prowess that this team certainly is capable. Winker also could slide into the No. 6 or No. 7 spot in the order, which plays well considering his slugging percentage.

Next. Potential free agents the Reds could sign in 2020

There is a reason the Cincinnati Reds selected Winker in the first round of the 2012 MLB Draft. He has done nothing but produce at each level of his career. Combine his overall baseball savvy, youth, offensive aptitude, the team’s record with him in the lineup, and 2019 very well could be the season that all of MLB learns exactly who the X-Factor is for these upstart Cincinnati Reds.