As expected, I think:

In the back of my mind, I kinda hoped that Jesse Winker would play so well this spring that he’d force the Reds’ hand, and Winker would be the Opening Day starter in left field. Alas, he’s on his way to Triple-A Louisville to begin the season, and that isn’t a terrible thing. I think Scott Schebler is a decent bet to have a breakout year, so he’ll have a chance early in the season.

If Winker isn’t in the big leagues by June, however, we have a problem. Over a full season, Winker is very likely to have the second-best on-base-percentage of anyone on this Reds roster. I’m afraid this lineup will need those on-base skills sooner rather than later.

Stay tuned.

30 Responses

  1. cfd3000

    It’s a nice problem to have. A game changing centerfielder with gold glove+ defense who is / may be getting better and better at the plate, a young right fielder who is ready to break out and have a monster year at the plate, an all start left fielder, and a young prospect OBP machine. In two months if one of Hamilton, Duvall, and Schebler is hurt or struggling Jesse Winker will be a fixture near the top of the lineup. If not and all three are mashing then we won’t mind that Winker isn’t in Cincinnati yet. If I had to guess Winker will displace Duvall soon, but I’m hoping all three outfielders make it really hard to call Jesse to the big club. How long ago did the Reds have nobody for left field? This is a big upgrade.

    • reaganspad

      And when Winker does displace in LF, our bench improves with Duvall going there. Big Bop off the bench, the ability to go to a 4 Outfielder approach to where you can play match ups with Duvall to maximize his average and attempts, riding him when he is hot and allowing you to spell him for a few days when he is not.

      This would give Billy the ability to play 5 days a week so that we can see him play in September (and more importantly October).

      That is building a team for post season like the Giants might do

  2. Matt

    Where would he play? You have Duvall, Hamilton, and Schebler. Rather have Winkler playing everyday in AAA instead of sitting the bench here.

  3. Chuck Schick

    Smart move to delay Winker.

    Very surprising that Schebler seems to be here to stay. I kept reading and hearing that the Reds were fleeced in the Todd Frazier trade. How could the vast majority of internet GM’s be wrong and Schebler is possibly a good player? If Rookie Davis winds up being good then it will destroy my faith in the internet.

    • The Duke

      If Rookie Davis’ regained velocity from this spring holds throughout the year, then that trade will look not nearly as bad. He was mostly 90-92 last year and has been 93-96 this spring. Jim Callis in particular was a big Rookie Davis believer heading into last year.

    • reaganspad

      We were fleeced in the Todd Frazier trade. Anything short of 3 fish named players with one being Trout (Salmon, Bass, Catfish) should have been the return for Super Todd.

      That said, those poor prospects Peraza and Schebler have sure become good baseball prospect since the joined the Reds organization, due of course to our superior player development

  4. DHud

    I can see Duvall as a good sell high candidate at the trade deadline. Cash him in for a prospect or two and open a spot for a deserving Winker. Leaves the Reds a little thin if Winker, BHam, or Schebler do struggle, but there are other candidates on the way in Ervin, Friedl, Aquino, and Trammel (some sooner than others)

    • The Duke

      Agreed, the low average, low walks, and high K’s scream sell high if someone is offering something worthwhile. Long term I’d love to see Trammell in CF, Winker in LF, and maybe Aquino in RF. With Aquino how his plate discipline progresses and how he handles the jump to AA will determine if he is in the future plans or not. If he improves his BB and K rates in the jump to AA while not falling off in power, then we may have a future star on our hands. That’s a big jump though, and far from the best bet.

      • IndyRedMan

        Personally I would slow my roll with Winker > Duvall! The Reds had the 6th lowest HRs/game on the road last year and Duvall actually hit 17 on the road (16 at home). His power travels! It was his first year as a starting major leaguer and he has diabetes to deal with as well. I’m for whoever/whatever makes the Reds relevant again but it takes a lot of obp and singles for a 8 HR/year guy to bypass a guy blasting 30+….not to mention Duvall is excellent defensively! Lets see what happens with Duvall this year.

      • Indy Red Man

        I hope you’re right! Winker in LF then move Duvall to RF or trade him for someone useful. This year will sort out some of those things. Can Duvall make adjustments and remain productive? Will the Schebler/Jennings (or Raburn) platoon work out? Duvall def has a better arm in RF then Schebler.

      • streamer88

        I agree Indy. Recall Yonder Alonso during his ascent in our farm system was a very close to “sure thing” offensive force, so much so that we were excited to see him shagging fly balls in LF in AA/AAA ball as he was blocked at 1B.

        Fast forward to 2016, which should have been a prime year for him, and I read the other day (I’m paraphrasing here): … this would be a good 1B pick up for the Athletics, who have Yonder Alonso as the incumbent, and he provides absolutely no offensive value whatsoever.

        Just goes to show you – even ”can’t miss” prospects miss. Also – one in hand, is usually better than two in the bush.

      • sixpacktwo

        I really believe that Schebler can be very, very good in RF and he Bats LH. Time will tell.

    • Chuck Schick

      Adam Duvall is not Mike Trout.

      Duvall’s metrics show that he has very little chance to have sustained success. That doesn’t mean he can’t improve or overcome his low walk rate and other red flags, but he doesn’t project particularly well over time at this point.. Of course, all of the other teams have internet access as well so Duvall’s trade value is rather limited.

  5. The Duke

    Success this year will be measured by how close we get to .500 and how the young players progress. Duvall and Schebler have done enough to warrant a look in this season of non contention and Winker hasn’t beat down the door yet.

  6. The Duke

    If you can get a very good return, then a trade seems like the best option to me. That’s the very best case scenario. Plus, we’d get to continue to hear other Reds fans complain about how we trade all our good players (regardless of their performance once traded).

  7. reaganspad

    In order to win 60 games, we would have to have 20 pitchers injured and on the extended DL, and 6 of our 8 regulars out.

    You could run our Louisville team in the majors and still win 60 games, so really every team has a floor of 60 wins which would occur if …..

    the airport they were traveling through was swallowed by a huge crack in the earth that swallowed their plane and “the Rock, (i.e. the People’s Champion)”: could not humanly rescue them because he was selfishly rescuing his daughter over our favorite team. And once the plane is swallowed by the earth they all drown in the epic tsunami that has multiple surfing records broken due to the height and shape of the wave.

    The really far fetched part of this is that they were playing Denver when the big one hit

    • The Duke

      Well, the Twins won 59 last year, so the floor may be a little below 60.

    • Playtowin

      It will take a miracle for the Reds to win 60 games. It is the worst roster in baseball.

  8. Dave Silverwood

    WINKLER WILL BE BACK SOON AND HOPEFULLY THE REDS WILL MAKE SEVERAL OTHER ROSTER MOVES —WE NEED TO GET SOME GUYS THAT REALLY CAN FIX THE THE LACK OF EMOTION AROUND THIS CLUB

    • Chuck Schick

      This isn’t high school football …the Reds have sucked because they had a lot of guys who were bad at baseball…not because of a lack of emotion. The “plays with fire” is non sense and is meaningless over 162 games.

  9. IndyRedMan

    Scored 4 today and promptly gave up 5….after Romano K’d the side in the 1st. I am going to be betting ALOT of Reds games Over the total this year:)

  10. Minoring In Baseball

    Well, at least we can enjoy watch him play here for the Bats. I hope he has a great game in the exhibition against the Reds next Friday.
    -Mike

  11. Jim Walker

    Spring Training stats in addition to being a small sample size are fickle to evaluate because we never know the quality of the opponent involved faced by a given player.

    This said, it jumps out at me that Winker’s strikeout rate is nearly 4 times his BB rate this spring (K%=22.9; BB%=6.3% in 48PA’s). This stands in stark contrast to his minor league career where the two rates have been very close to each other, low on the K side (16.2%) and very high on the BB side (13.9%).

    There are any number of possible benign explanations for these spring rates. However, it is also possible that Winker is more consistently seeing pitchers who do not miss the strike zone as much and when in the strike zone do a better job of missing hitters’ sweet spots. If this is the case, I’m not sure how more time at AAA will help him; but, we may need to temper expectations that he will be an OBP machine second only to Votto from the get go when he first arrives in Cincinnati.

    • Steve Hanshaw

      Which is all the more reason this stands as a good move in context of a larger plan. Keep Winker in AAA until there is a spot for him to play every day for the big club, or we’ve confirmed we are not making the playoffs. Bring him up – ideally in June- and play him every day.

      The team is shaping up to potentially make a run at the playoffs in 2018. I’d love to get Winker 600 PAs this year with more than half in Cincinnati to give him time to adapt to MLB pitching.

  12. Michael B. Green

    The CIN OF looks pretty impressive. Plenty year’s of control and no bad contracts. Duvall, Hamilton, Schebler, Winker, Ervin and Aquino on the 40 with Friedl, Trammell and Siri coming soon. I’m sure we’ll see another breakout too (Michael Beltre).

  13. Playtowin

    Winker is over rated until he proves he is not. The Reds have the worst roster in baseball. This team will need a miracle to win 60 games. A competitive future will not come before 2020 if then.