Evaluating the Reds left field options for the 2022 season

Cincinnati Reds left fielder Jesse Winker (33) hits a grand slam.
Cincinnati Reds left fielder Jesse Winker (33) hits a grand slam. / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

For the most, Jesse Winker has manned left field the past two seasons for the Cincinnati Reds. Winker, however, does have a bit of an injury history, so putting all your eggs in one basket isn't the most sound strategy when it comes to who will be the Reds everyday left fielder in 2022.

Of course, if he's healthy, Winker will head onto the field on March 31, 2022 as the Cincinnati Reds starting left fielder. However, the possibility exists for the All-Star to be Cincinnati's designated hitter next season if the NL adopts the DH heading into 2022.

Who will be the Reds starting left fielder in 2022?

Jesse Winker had a career season in 2021 and looks poised to make an even bigger impact heading into next season. Winker hit .305/.394/.556 with 24 home runs and 71 RBIs. Winker looks to be the future of the ball club, and many fans are hopeful that the 28-year-old is able to negotiate a long-term extension this offseason.

But, if Winker is the team's DH or fails to remain healthy, what might the Reds be left with in left field? Aristides Aquino has plenty of experience in the corner outfield spots. Shogo Akiyama handled duties in left field during the abbreviated 2020 season. And even last year's rookie TJ Friedl saw time in left field.

Heading into spring training, you have to assume this is Aquino's last chance to find success with the Cincinnati Reds. Aquino had a highly publicized debut in August of 2019, but has done little since. Aquino has a great arm, but his overall defense is suspect and The Punisher had trouble hitting breaking balls all of last season.

Akiyama was relegated to the role of defensive replacement last season. With Winker being a left-handed bat, it's highly unlikely that the former Japanese star will find much time in left field unless the Buffalo native becomes the Reds designated hitter.

The same notion holds true for Friedl. Both he and Akiyama don't possess the power to be considered an everyday corner outfielder. Their defense is good enough that they can log innings in center field, but otherwise should be used only as a defensive replacement late in games.

The Reds don't really have anyone down on the farm who looks ready to take over duties in left field. Allan Cerda was added to Cincinnati's 40-man roster, but the outfield prospect has yet to play at even the Double-A level.

Evaluating the Reds CF options for the 2022 season. dark. Next

I'd look for Jesse Winker to be the Cincinnati Reds starting left fielder throughout the 2022 season, as it makes much more sense for David Bell to anoint Mike Moustakas as the team's designated hitter should the National League add the DH during the upcoming contract negotiations.