Ranking the Reds in-house replacements for Jesse Winker in left field

Cincinnati Reds right fielder Aristides Aquino (44) flexes.
Cincinnati Reds right fielder Aristides Aquino (44) flexes. / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Cincinnati Reds outfielder Shogo Akiyama (4) catches a fly ball.
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Shogo Akiyama (4) catches a fly ball. / Cincinnati Enquirer-USA TODAY NE

3. Reds outfielder Shogo Akiyama could replace Jesse Winker in LF.

Well, this is it for Shogo Akiyama. Without Jesse Winker and Nick Castellanos in the lineup, the former Japanese star has his best chance to become a regular contributor for the Cincinnati Reds. Akiyama had been reduced to a part-time player in 2021 despite raking in $7M in salary.

Akiyama has been a disappointment since coming to the Queen City, and while many fans throughout Reds Country will say it's not his fault, he's yet produce when given the opportunity. Yes, the COVID-19 pandemic and shutting spring training in 2020 certainly had an effect on Akiyama's adjustment to the big leagues. Last season, Akiyama was slowed by injuries and the stellar play of Tyler Naquin.

Shogo Akiyama still does not have a home run in the big leagues. While he's not necessarily a power-hitter by trade, you'd expect a player who'd had three consecutive seasons of 20-plus homers in Japan to at least register a couple of round trippers, right?

The truth is, Akiyama is slap-hitter. Next season, when Major League Baseball bans the shift, Akiyama might hit for .325, but opposing defenses are going to play the 33-year-old to pull the ball to the right side of the infield, and until Akiyama learns to elevate the ball over the defense, he'll remain a part-time player.

On defense, Akiyama is one of the Cincinnati Reds best options. Despite his age, Shogo Akiyama might be the Reds best defender on the outfield grass. Akiyama was up for a Gold Glove during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, and he may be again if he finds regular playing time in left this season.