This may not come as a surprise to many of you, but the Cincinnati Reds are not going to make the playoffs this season. Here’s what may come as a surprise, the Reds farm system is not as bad as it used to be.
Sure, most of the Reds faithful are excited for the depth of pitching prospects in the system with names like Amir Garrett, Cody Reed and Rookie Davis tearing it up, but they do have some offense. In fact, it may be time to hand over left field to their top prospect Jesse Winker.
Winker, of course, was the Reds first round draft pick (supplemental) back in the 2012MLB Draft that they nabbed out of high school. He quickly worked his way up the minor league ladder, showing consistency across the board. He was a steady .280 to .300 hitter capable of 15 to 20 home run type power and a seemingly very polished plate discipline for such a young hitter.
The 22-year old left hander has a pretty, smooth swing. He’s quick and short with it, and while he exhibits patience at the plate, he is still pretty aggressive when he sees his pitch. He makes solid contact, usually pretty well to all fields, and can take pitchers deep into counts with both his eye and ability to foul off pitches.
His first promotion to Double-A in 2014 did not look good, but in his defense, he never truly was able to acclimate having his season end less than a month after his debut from a wrist injury. All eyes would be on Winker for his first full season in Double-A come 2015.
It wasn’t ugly, but it certainly didn’t start out like Winker baseball. He slashed .248/.352/.349 before the All Star Break, with a mere three home runs. He posted a solid strikeout to walk ratio (40:33) so he wasn’t struggling with advanced pitching per se, but he was searching to find his groove. He did that after the All Star Break.
Winker closed out the season in his typical form, slashing .316/.426/.516 with 10 home runs. He ended the season with a remarkable 83:74 strikeout to walk ratio, posting a new career low strikeout rate (15.4-percent) while walking just a tad below his career norm of 15-percent.
He has handled the transition to Triple-A seamlessly, as he is on pace for all of his career averages. That uncanny plate discipline is reaching new highs — or lows as the case may be — as he has walked 20 times as opposed to striking out just 14 (10.2-percent). He’s hitting .303, while sitting in third place in the International League with a .405 OBP. He’s only hit two home runs, but there is nothing to suggest a major power outage, and perhaps he is just a slow starter.
So could Winker fit in right now on the big league level?
Curious to find out? Head on over to Minor League Ball for the full article by clicking on the link below: