Imagine you are Dick Williams and need to fill left field with someone for the 2017 season. You’ve already slotted Jesse Winker into the right field hole, and while Ryan Ludwick could be coaxed out of retirement, you want to try something with a positive chance at success. You want the decision made sooner rather than later, so you ask some aide who looks vaguely like Jonah Hill to mock up some player comparisons of your two best in-house options. After about an hour, the aide–we’ll call him Paul–returns with a mock up.


You, the savvy General Manager you are, see these numbers and are confounded. Player A walks less but also strikes out less and hits for more power but doesn’t get on base as much apparently. Meanwhile, Player B seems to be more of that three-outcome player that you’ve been told makes a great corner outfielder, but boy does this kid strike out a lot.

Leaning towards Player A for your 2017 roster, you realize that these stats only represent a month of data and decide to send Paul off to find more numbers on these players but in a bigger sample size. Paul, the good aide that he is, returns with a new mock up.

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“Goodness gracious,” you cry while clutching your heart and feigning distress for Paul’s sake (he’s a drama major in his spare time). “Of course, Player B will be our starter next year. Player A is dreadful.”

At this point, Paul pipes up in the most serious voice he can summon and says, “But sir, maybe Player A just had a truly terrible 70 plate appearances. He has done better in the majority of his appearances since then after all.”

What do you do?

If you haven’t figured it out by this point, Player A is Scott Schebler and Player B is Adam Duvall. Paul is just a figment of my imagination.

But Paul has a point: Scott Schebler has outperformed the spring edition of himself significantly in the month of August. In fact, over the past month, Schebler and Duvall have been practically interchangeable.

So which Scott Schebler is for real? Is the lefty worth hanging onto over Duvall for the upcoming season?

To answer the first question: I have absolutely no idea.

Over the course of his minor league career, Schebler’s power numbers have danced around without any semblance of consistency. He hit six home runs in A ball, then followed up with a 27 home run season in high-A and a 28 home run season in AA before falling back to a 13 home run season in AAA. Schebler is a hard pull hitter, so maybe park effects played a role, but it couldn’t have been as extreme as his variation.

If I were to hazard a guess, I would say Schebler is a 20-25 home run guy over the course of a full season. Respectable and a good bat to have in the lineup, but nowhere near the power that Duvall has commanded this season.

To answer the second question (which is more interesting anyway): No, not at all.

If the Reds do have room to hang onto Schebler as well as Duvall, they should by all means do it. Schebler, when hot, is a decent bat and plays decently enough in the field to be a fifth outfielder next year.

But if Duvall can maintain his late-in-life breakthrough through next season, he should continue to get the nod in left. His Def rating is a full nine points higher than Schebler’s, and despite the strikeouts, he is a far better hitter than Schebler in terms of runs created.

Yes, the month of August has been kind to Schebler, and yes, he might be able to reproduce this production over the course of a full season. But the thing is, even if Schebler can replicate this, he hasn’t been all that much better than Duvall anyway who has already proven replication over a large sample size.

Schebler might be having the power surge of his life right now, but the Reds outfield next year likely consists of two low-power guys already, so it’s better to go with the guy you know can hit dingers than the one who had a hot streak.

Join the conversation! 36 Comments

  1. I think Redlegnation has jumped to the conclusion that Jesse Winker is going to be the right fielder next year but I’m not sure that the organization feels that way. There are a couple of clues to over the course of this year that have lead me to believe that the Reds are not high on Winker. 1.) He was batting 7th in Louisville at one point this year 2.) He has remained in Louisville all year 3.) On the latest Redlgnation Podcast Barry Larkin mentioned that part of his job and part of what the Reds are looking to do is to develop more “impactful” players (whatever that means). He specifically mentioned talking to a corner outfielder with only 2 homeruns and asked “do you think that will play in the big leagues”.

    • I still think the org is high on Winker but I am sure that there are some rumblings from the Baseball Ops people along the lines of “Where in the blazes has the power gone?”

      I brought that question up to Doug in his Minor League All Questions Answered thread and he said he thought it had a lot to do with the wrist and that he thought the power would return. He knows 1000x more about Winker than I do so I took him at his word. I wonder if the Reds are as confident as Doug is and I think you might be onto something as far as there may be at least some questions about it.

      • As things stand today, Winker should start 2017 in AAA. Duvall should be in left and Schebler in right. Perhaps Cozart gets traded for an outfield prospect that can push one of those 2, perhaps Winkers power surges in Spring Training or May in AAA, perhaps Duvall or Schebler fail, or somebody gets hurt, or Suarez becomes and all-start 3rd basemen and Senzel moves to the outfield. There are a lot of things that could happen but my original point is that I really do not believe that the Reds as an organization feel that Winker has done enough to warrant being penciled into right field for 2017.

  2. I’m with you, JIMBOBCRAIG, Winkler has to develop more power to beat out Schebler. With one singles hitter, Hamilton, in center we are already power short. Winkler will be the fifth fielder next year.

  3. I think the Reds should feel happy that they both may be able to contribute. Schebler can play CF in a pinch (poorly but he can) and could be a LH bat off the bench with pop and a little speed. He could also spell Duvall when Duvall needs a break or against a particularly tough RH pitcher.

  4. You know who Schebler reminds me an awful lot of? Johnny Gomes. He has a similar profile as a hitter but arguably provides better defense and certainly provides more speed. I think Schebler could be Gomes with upside remaining to be more.

  5. My biggest fear is that none of these guys (Shebler, Duvall, Winker, Someone Else) get consistent playing time and it ends up with them all performing poorly. I know that is a bit pessimistic but haven’t we seen it before? Gomes, Dickerson, Hopper, Freel, Heisey, Paul, and others. Now you all might have the stats to show that most of those guys were bad players but from a casual fan’s perspective it seemed like in many cases these players (forgive my dustyism) never really had a good opportunity to get going. If this is truly a rebuild and you have done a good job evaluating your talent, let the players play and see what you have. If you have a logjam send someone to AAA so that they can play if you see them as part of the future or trade someone if you need to.

    Let me clarify by saying that I am aware that players like Freel, Gomes, and even Heisey did eventually get regular playing time just not maybe as soon as they should have.

  6. Regarding Winker’s power…without exit velocity and elevation, we don’t know anything. Giancarlo Stanton could hit 2 home runs if he started hitting a lot of liners and grounders.

    Also, his decrease in K’s in AAA over lower levels suggests some type of mechanical and/or mental change geared towards making more contact. Honestly, I feel like he’s intentionally trying to not hit for power. I think he’s trying to build a foundation of a good swing and good discipline that he can then add the risk/reward swing back into once he’s comfortable. Sounds like a Votto move.

    • If that’s what he’s doing then that’s fine, but he better hurry up and do it. RF was up for grabs and Schebler took the spot because he outperformed Winker in AAA. At the beginning of 2016 who would have guessed that Jay Bruce would be traded at the deadline and Winker still would not have a spot in the outfield? Winker may still be viewed by Reds fans as the guy you plug into the Reds OF for many years to come but I’m not so sure the winds are not shifting in the Reds organization.

      • That’s the exact reason why Winker will be a better major league hitter than Scott Schebler. He understands the process. Schebler goes up guessing and swings as hard as he can at everything. That works against AAA pitching. Sometimes it works against MLB, but not all the time.

        Also, he didn’t beat Winker for the job… Winker is being held down because of age/service time/injured wrist, etc.

        The kind of thinking you are espousing is the same kind that got us Brennan Boesch on the 25-man roster. Performance means nothing unless it’s in real games. Schebler has been fine lately, but he’s not Jesse Winker and never will be.

        • Winker is getting more love than he deserves. He has under performed to date in the minors. Until he proves otherwise he is Paul Householder….another hot prospect who never did anything. Winker needs more time with Louisville.

    • Patrick, I’m with you on Winker’s deliberate refinement of his plate approach at AAA before unleashing his entire hit tool. Unfortunately, the wrist injury threw a wrench into that thinking in 2016. It was the same apparent approach Winker had at AA in 2015. Winker is only 23 years old (as of 16 days ago). He’s still young and has his entire prime career years ahead of him. There is no rush to strat his service time clock. Quite frankly, I would love to see Winker and Senzel together in the Reds lineup with Votto for 6 seasons as the impetus to get the Reds over the hump and back into full competition with the Cubbies in the NLCD.

    • Seems to me that a wrist injury is a very good reason for a decrease in power, also the Bats play in a big park, where it is harder to hit them out. By the same token, Winker has trouble staying healthy and has had problems with his wrist before. The Reds would only be to think about that. Ervin has also had wrist problems and his power numbers are down too. I think many scouts and “experts” have projected Winker to be a 15-20 HR guy at best, but one who hits balls into the alleys and gets on base. He is more Votto than Bruce.

  7. Also, Winker is likely just having bad luck in the doubles department…

    XBH rate takes…wait for it… 1610 PAs before it begins to stabilize. Turn a few line drive singles into line drive doubles (because, face it, they are the same thing, just with a different angle from home) and Winker’s SLG is over .400 and no one cares.

  8. Schebler made the same adjustment at the plate over the last month that Duvall made in the 2nd half of the season. He’s not pulling everything and he’s using better plate discipline. Both Duvall and Schebler know they can hit the ball a very long way, but both seem to have had an epiphany that anything more than 410 feet really doesn’t make any difference and they can both drive the ball 410 feet going to the opposite field. Not only that, but by going with the pitch results in better plate coverage and better overall results, whereas trying to pull everything results in simply rolling over the ball and dribbling a nice infield ground out.

    So what to do? Winker should stay at AAA to begin the 2017 season with Duvall and Schebler manning the corner OF positions. Let that situation play out for a couple of months and evaluate the results based on 4 months of regular playing time for Duvall and Schebler. If Winker’s wrist injury is the cause of his power disappearance, then don’t even promote him for a September call up. Rest and treatment then a monitored offseason strength and rehabilitation program for the wrist. Winker will have 2+ months to demonstrate that he is fully prepared to take over a corner OF position in 2017. At that point, the best case scenario is that the Reds have 3 proven starting caliber corner OF with one available for the trade market or the worst case scenario is that Duvall and Schebler become a corner OF platoon with Winker as a corner OF, top-of-the-order hitter with premier on-base skills.

    • The reality is over 162 games you need 4 outfielders. Love to have schebler or duvall as a pinch hitter off the bench. Schebler could give billy some rest in cf too. Winker is still best young hitter since Votto….his power is off this year…but let’s not criticize him because he isn’t Joey Votto V2…..he still could be in the friendly confines of GABP.w e haven’t had a LF for years…now we have several. I love that problem.

      • Excess love for Winker. Best young hitter since Votto says a lot about the disaster of the Reds farm system. Winker is steadily dropping in prospect ratings.

        • This comment made me laugh. You clearly haven’t looked at Winker’s career minor league numbers. Guy has been an excellent hitter at every level besides this year where he was merely very good as a 22 year old at AAA. Go look it up.

  9. I am with you Patrick. I think Winker is working to make better contact. The wrist is probably also a factor. Line Drives and consistent hard contact are much better than warning track fly balls. I know the home run is exciting, yes chicks love the home run, but I would much rather see more Votto like hitters. Scheduler has way too many holes in his swing, that unless he fixes them will never be more than a bench player. I think the jury is still out on Duvall. It looks like he gets it and has been practicing much better plate discipline for the most part but I think we need to see whether or not that translates to another year like this one.

  10. Home Run Rankings for the past 6 World Champions:
    Royals 24
    Giants 17
    Red Sox 6
    Giants. 30
    Cardinals 13
    Giants 10

    The 2014 Royals were 30

    The 100 win 2015 Cardinals were 25.

    This year, the #15 Twins have hit 47 more homers than the #29 Giants. The Rays and Orioles more than the Cubs.

    • Home runs are a decent, but imperfect measure of power. ISO is just as easy to find and better to use. There are plenty of ways to win, to be sure. It’s usually either power or pitching, though. And defense. But looking at World Series champions is too narrow. Postseason series wins are crapshoots. It would be better to look at all the teams that reach the postseason – or maybe just division champs – and see how power correlates to that. It may be the same as what you show here with HR for WS champs.

      Power, on base skills, defense and pitching.

      • Which brings up another valid point which is that Winker’s defense is reportedly below average.

        • Errors are certainly an imperfect measure of defense, but the lack of errors is certainly a positive. Over the past 3 seasons, Winker has a total of 5 errors. His .990 Fld% over the past 3 seasons would easily rank him among the top 15 qualified OF in the NL for lowest error rate. That’s a pretty good start for adequate defense.

        • I’m convinced no one knows anything about defense.

          This epiphany came to me after I realized Nate McClouth won a Gold Glove in 2008 despite being one of the worst defenders in baseball by every metric.

  11. I’m not sure why everyone is worried about Winker’s power numbers.
    Let’s say he is able to slash 290/390/375 next season which is right in line with what he is doing in AAA this year. You wouldn’t take that in the number 2 spot in the line up?

    Lets say Peraza can keep up his 280/330/375 AAA numbers from this year, bat him leadoff then have Votto putting up his typical 300/400/500 in the #3 spot. That seems like a pretty good top of the order to me.

    If Mesoraco is somehow back to 2014 levels then he bats cleanup with Duvall, Suarez, Phillips and Hamilton following. If Barnhart is still the primary catcher then move everyone else up a spot. Maybe somehow Phillips is off the team and Herrera can take his spot. That seems like the makings of a decent line up.

    • Agreed.

      Beyond this is the fact that most guys don’t hit their power peak at 22/23 years old. Some do (Harper/Trout/Bryant), but these are the #1 overall blue chip type prospects. Winker isn’t that.

      What he IS is a guy who is overwhelmingly likely to be a slightly above average MLB hitter with a slight chance to be the all-start/MVP type hitter if his power manifests.

      • “Some do (Harper/Trout/Bryant), but these are the #1 overall blue chip type prospects.”

        Do we dare dream of Senzel joining that illustrious group in a couple of seasons?

    • I agree- but there is now way Billy Hamilton is not batting leadoff. Not saying he should, but he will never not bat leadoff again.

  12. We haven’t had anybody competing for jobs at the big league level for a long time.Our core group never had anybody breathing down their neck to try and take their job.I love it when we start talking about who should play and where and who is the 4th outfielder and who is a bench guy.Its about time don’t you think?By the way Duvall/Schebler play until somebody takes their job.Let The audition begin.

  13. I’m confused as to why people have freaked out over Winker’s lack of power this season. He has shown solid power every season and the year he doesn’t coincides with a wrist injury that lasted quite a while before he went on the disabled list.

    He has an OBP of roughly .390 in his age 22 season in AAA. The Reds have plenty of power. They need more players like Winker. Based on milb careers and the kind of skills that translate well to MLB, Winker will likely be a better player than both Duvall and Schebler.

  14. Even if Winkler is just a Von Hayes or David DeJesus type hitter, that might not be that all that bad, as he is getting on base at a decent clip.

    Schebler and Duvall both swing so hard, if they can absorb a bit of Votto control mojo, they could be decent too.

    Either way, depth is a good thing, I think part of the reason the Cubs have been so good this year is that really they don’t lose much with their first 2-3 guys off the bench. LaStella might be a starter on some clubs and he was the 26th guy since he had options a few weeks ago, even though he had played well all year.

  15. Why not have an outfield of Hamiton, Duvall, and Winker with Schebler as the reserve? I think he can play all three positions, right?

  16. I can definitely see Hamilton batting lead off if the Votto batting practice sessions continue to produce results. Hamilton is simply devastating on the base paths and now that he’s getting on base above .300, we’re beginning to see it result in runs (can we figure out the percentage of time he scores after getting on base versus league average – my observation says he scores at a much higher clip than average but I don’t have data to prove that?).

    I think Winker is doing the smart thing at AAA by continuing to focus on plate discipline – that will pay off at some point but won’t be as flashy. I can see starting the 2017 season with Duvall, Hamilton, and Schebler in the outfield but I bet it ends with Duvall, Hamliton, Winker and Schebler the reserve. If I were Schebler, I’d work insanely hard on my Center Field defense so I can play all three OF positions well. I really like a Duvall, Hamilton, Winker and Schebler outfield if each works on a few development opportunities.

    Man, I sat behind home plate last night and Peraza looks good. Good defense. Good at bats. My eyeballs say we got a good deal for Fraizer for our future at 2nd base. I really want him to play the rest of the year and get comfortable up here in the big leagues.

    Another guy who looks so much better lately is Saurez. His defense looks much better and his at-bats look much more productive. I understand he’s joined the Votto | Hamilton batting practice club and it might be paying off. I hope Duvall is paying attention because I see pressure coming from Senzel and it’s aimed for whomever is the weak link. This is a good problem.

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