I’ve been lucky enough to get a press pass to Bats games this year and, as a result, I’ve taken in a fair bit of baseball. The Bats’ roster is an interesting one. They have more than their share of legit prospects, but also a lot of journey and cast offs – as you expect with most AAA teams.

I have been paying very close attention to Jesse Winker and Jose Peraza and this is what I can tell you:

Winker is ready. Period. There is no reason other than service time manipulation to keep him in the minors. He’s walking more than he strikes out and putting up a .316/.404/.434 line. He may not ever be an enormous power threat- though he still has room for growth and I’ve seen several balls that were fly outs, but only barely stayed in the park – but he has more than enough power to be scary. His ability to get on base is something the Reds desperately need. When watching Winker’s at bats, it’s very clear that he is a cut above the other players on the field.

Peraza has been an even more pleasant surprise. Like most of you, I didn’t know much about him when he was acquired by the Reds. Based on his stats, I was expecting quite the free-swinger. But that’s not what I’ve seen. He’s not Winker with the bat, nor does he need to be since he’s middle infielder. He seems to generally wait for his pitch and when he swings, he hits it. I know the fear is that he was Hamilton 2.0 and while he is fast (though not Hamilton fast), he hits the ball harder and strikes out less often. If he keeps the walk rate around its current 6.2%, Reds fans will be pleased with what they see when he comes up.

I should also note that I was at Cody Reed’s start on Sunday. I had a 4-year-old and a 7-year-old in tow, so I wasn’t able to pay attention as much as I would have liked, but from what I saw, you should be excited. He touched 96, sat at 94-95, and pitched 7 1-hit innings. The off-speed stuff looked good, too. Obviously he was fooling some batters.

That’s my first update of the year from Louisville, I’ll try to keep these coming every couple of weeks.

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.

Join the conversation! 22 Comments

  1. I saw Winker hit an absolute Bomb on a 3-2 count last Friday night in Durham. That kid can play. He needs to be in LF, stat.

    • That was off Blake Snell too….the #1 prospect in the Tampa system and a lefty to boot!

  2. Thanks for the share. Good stuff about Peraza. hope for future leadoff hitter.

  3. Thanks so much for the update Jason. These are really appreciated during a season like this.
    Sounds really encouraging with those two on the way. I can imagine someday sooner than later, a Reds’ line up with Peraza leading off and Winker 2nd, Votto 3rd.
    With all the young pitching the Reds have on the way, it’s nice to know some of the talented position players are developing well.

  4. 3 key pieces we will get to see hopefully sooner rather than later.

  5. Reds better start moving Tyler Stephenson through the system. Mesoraco is looking like career over.

    • Sadly I think we have a better chance of seeing Wallach or Skipworth develop faster than Stephenson since Stephenson is on the DL and was hitting like .120 before he went on it in Low A. Hes prolly 3-4 years away from a shot

      • Yeah, that’s about where he’s at. I was thinking 2-3 years and that was before he got hurt.

    • I sure hope it’s not career over. That said, it isn’t out of the question. My dad fully agrees with you by the way. He declared him done even before the shoulder injury this year.

  6. Boy would I love watching a lineup of:

    1. Peraza – CF
    2. Winker – LF
    3. Votto – 1B
    4. Suarez – 3B
    5. Bruce – RF
    6. Phillips – 2B
    7. Cozart – SS
    8. Barnhart – C


    Jermaine Curtis (Dude has raked this year and not getting younger lol)


    1. Finnegan
    2. Bailey
    3. Reed
    4. Disco
    5. Stephenson


    Lorenzen (Pending Healthy Obviously if not maybe Josh Smith?)
    Dayan Diaz (Getting Pissed he hasnt got a chance yet)
    Adelman (Great Long Relief Guy, and hes hungry to succeed)
    Cotham (Big fan, works hard)
    Straily (Closer?)
    Wood (mixed results but otherwise impressed)

    Thats my fantasy just love messing with the lineups and rotations, joys of being a high school coach and travel ball organization owner. Love the articles.


    • Where is Iglesias?

      • I would hope that by August it would be without Bruce and Cozart (hopefully being traded for a solid prospect and maybe 2-3 other players).

  7. My apologies. Shoot that throws my Rotation for a loop… trade Bailey or Desclafani lol

  8. Lets go with:

    1. Bailey
    2. Iglesias
    3. Disco
    4. Reed
    5. Stephenson


    1. Cotham
    2. Wood
    3. D. Diaz
    4. Cingrani
    5. Adelman
    6. Moscot
    7. Straily (Set Up)
    8. Finnegan (Closer)

    I actually like Finnegan as a closer with a mid upper 90s fastballs and that sweeping curve from his arm angle. Think he could really be the guy there.

  9. Starting rotation for 2017, barring injuries, should be Bailey, Disco, Iglesias, Reed & Stephenson. That would allow to keep in the pen Lamb, Finnegan, Lorenzen, Adelman, Cotham, Straily & Wood. All set. Others could be in the mix, like Moscot, Smith, Cingrani, etc. pending on performances, injuries and/or trades. However, success will also depend upon having a more capable manager able to handle a bullpen, which of course is not one of Price’s strenghts. A bullpen is like a domino set, one piece falls and all other will follow. Go Reds!

  10. Since you have eyes on the prize, Jason, your observation regarding D. Diaz & Somsen would be useful and appreciated. Those 2 relievers certainly have more upside than Hayes and probably Ramirez, so they have more viability for the future bullpen.

    I appreciate the opportunity you have and your willingness to share your observations.

    • Did see Somsen and he looked good. I don’t recall seeing Diaz at the moment, but I may have just been focused on other things. With Somsen, I definitely thought, “Well, he could help right now.”

  11. Upcoming line-up for 2017 should include Peraza SS, Winker LF, Votto 1B, Suarez 3B, Ervin RF, Blandino 2B, Barnhart C, Hamilton CF. Bruce and Cozart won’t be for next season for sure, maybe Philips will end his carreer in Cinci and Meso’s carreer looks like will be closer to the DL. GO REDS!

    • Blandino and Ervin are not close to ready. Only in AA and not really tearing it up. Blandino (unless he just gets hot) will need a full year at AA/AAA next year to be ready. Maybe a 2017 September Call Up…same for Ervin who has not proven in any season that he can consistently be a good hitter. But I hope I am proven wrong because they are a big part of the future…Blandino especially.

    • no way blandino will be ready…,extremely extremely doubtful on ervin. nice thoughts though. i think either bruce or cozart will be here.
      as stated before…. am hoping disco is healthy and can be flipped. will bring the most in return. i love watching him but with health not a factor… too many arms once you get to include pensacola.

  12. Its not going to be easy for the Reds brass/Price with our pitching? They’re almost forced to trade a key pitcher or 2 and get a major league ready stick(s) in here because we have more long term holes than Winker/Peraza can fill? Then you have a pen that is so historically bad so they’re going to have to move a guy or 2 there like Finnegan or Lorenzen and that’s a tough call too? You want as many innings out of your elite arms as you can get if they’re cut out for it? Almost everyone on here wants to throw Lorenzen in the pen because he struggled last year but Zack Greinke went 5-17 with a 5.80 era in his first full season and Hawk Harrelson said Lorenzen reminded him of Greinke last year when we played the White Sox! Guys like Lamb could be a perfectly good 4th-5th type of guy in theory but don’t have the stuff for late innings but better stuff than a situational lefty? Tough decisions and they can’t afford to screw them up? The way we’re going now….prob trade Disco and/or Homer and then Bob Steve’s arm will go full Mesoraco on us?

  13. Thanks for the first-hand insights Jason. I look forward to reading more.

Comments are closed.

About Jason Linden

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.


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