Cincinnati Reds: Can Jesse Winker be an everyday outfielder?

SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 18: Jesse Winker #33 of the Cincinnati Reds can't make the catch. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 18: Jesse Winker #33 of the Cincinnati Reds can't make the catch. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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After three seasons, some Cincinnati Reds fans question if Jesse Winker will ever be an everyday player. What are his chances of locking down an everyday job in 2020.

Over the past three seasons of Jesse Winker‘s young career, Cincinnati Reds fans have been anxiously awaiting him to show the ability to be the team’s everyday left fielder. In spurts, Winker has teased fans with his ability to get on base, make strong contact, and be a manageable defender.

However, injuries and a lack of ability to hit against left-handed pitchers have slowed those moments from taking place on a larger scale. These issues beg the question; can and will Jesse Winker ever be an everyday player for the Reds?

Throughout much of the past three seasons, Winker has spent a large amount of time out of the lineup on the injured list due to various ailments. Now, Reds fans know that injuries happen, and no one is immune from a stint here or there on the IL. However, with the Reds looking to make the jump into contention, availability becomes a necessary part of any player’s makeup.

In three seasons, Winker has played in 249 out of a possible 486 games, which is just over half of the games he has been on the roster. During this time, Winker has hit .285 with 211 hits, 30 home runs and 96 RBIs in 855 plate appearances.

Winker has established himself as one of the better bats on the team when an opposing right-hander is on the mound. Over his career, in 708 plate appearances against right-handed pitching, Winker is hitting .307 with 28 home runs, 86 RBIs and a .396 on-base percentage.

The trouble for Winker comes when a southpaw toes the rubber. Compared to his much smaller sample size number against left-handed pitchers, Winker is hitting .176 with just 22 hits and just 2 home runs. Winker also has a miserable .295 on-base percentage against lefties.

Based off the numbers alone, there is ample reasons for the Cincinnati Reds to allow Jesse Winker to continue as the everyday left fielder. However, going forward, if he intends to maintain that status, Winker will need to improve his reliability and his ability to hit against left-handed pitching.

With such a small sample size, and the fact Winker is still developing his skill set, the Cincinnati Reds should sign another outfielder who can fill the void if Winker gets hurt or continues to struggle against southpaws.

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That said, Jesse Winker will not get better against left-handers if he isn’t given more opportunities. While Phillip Ervin’s success against lefties last season makes his bat a must-start, if the Reds want Winker to reach his ceiling, he’ll need a chance to prove he can take that next step.