Cincinnati Reds: Five bold predictions for the 2020 season

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 14: Jesse Winker #33 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 14: Jesse Winker #33 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
3 of 6
Cincinnati Reds
CINCINNATI, OHIO – JULY 31: Jesse Winker #33 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

2. Jesse Winker leads the Reds in home runs and RBIs during the 2020 season.

Okay, now we’re getting bold, right? I mean, c’mon, Jesse Winker? How in the world is going to lead the Reds in home runs? Winker’s problem in the past has not been at the dish. In fact, he’s one of Cincinnati’s best young hitters who has a great eye at the plate. His problem has been staying healthy. A 60-game season and universal DH will help Winker more than anyone.

Winker played in a career-high 113 games in 2019 and hit a career-high 16 home runs. The 26-year-old’s production halted in the last two months of 2019, when a season-ending injury landed Winker on the injured list. The year prior, Winker only played in 89 games.

Winker was drafted out of high school with the 49th pick in the 2012 MLB Draft. We’ve seen flashes of brilliance from Winker, who’s career-OPS is .845. Winker is better than anyone on this year’s Reds team, sans Joey Votto, at getting on base.

The additions to the Reds roster will help protect Winker in the lineup. He will not be called upon to the the team’s leadoff hitter. That job is likely to be split between Nick Senzel and Shogo Akiyama. Winker is likely to be nestled in the heart of the Reds lineup between the likes of Nick Castellanos, Mike Moustakas, Eugenio Suárez and Senzel (when he’s not leading off).

Winker, along with Moustakas and Castellanos, will likely have the most opportunities to drive in runs. With Votto and Akiyama atop the Cincinnati batting order, there will be runners on base ahead of the big hitters. Look for Winker to finally break out and have his best season to date.