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.

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at

Join the conversation! 54 Comments

  1. 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.

    • 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. Was going through Fangraphs projections earlier and it really put this season in perspective as a rebuilding one. Every Reds starter besides Joey Votto is projected to be in the bottom third of the league. Combine this with our young pitching, and there’s no way we compete this year. With that said, why would you give up the year of team control by being impatient? I don’t understand why fans are still clamoring for guys like Winker, Romano, and Garrett to be brought up immediately.

    I’d put an “absolute best case scenario” of literally everyone breaking out as a 90+ win season, an “absolute worst case scenario” of winning 60ish games, and the expected season as a 70-80 win season (high variance due to the large amount of prospects expected to play). The problem with the absolute best case scenario is that it relies on Peraza, Hamilton, Schebler/Duvall, Winker, AND a couple of the starters breaking out. I don’t think it’s very likely that we have breakout performances from 4/8 starting positions.

    • 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.

    • 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

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

      • You would be great at Cinema Sins

      • Like I said…. Worst case scenario! XD

      • I have them at 68-94… I plan on doing my sims over the weekend but thinking that my 68 wins is probably pretty close. A floor of 60 is probably not out of the question.

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

          • 60 wins is historically horrible. It’s very hard to lose 100 games. Certainly possible but I don’t see it. Worst team in baseball probably isn’t losing 100.

  3. “As expected, I think…”

    Maybe the Old Cossack is still getting used to the idea of a new managment group with a new approach and philosophy, but I found this move as a relief.

    I fully expect Winker to make his appearance in June or July, well after the super-2 cuttoff, but with one caveat. If Schebler plays like he did during the 2nd half of 2016 and Duvall plays like he did during the 1st half of 2016 (or anything resembling those performances), the Reds have a very nice problem. If that happens, then Winker’s arrival may be delayed until later in the season while DW attempts to maximize the value to the Reds organization of such a windfall. That will involve a lot of head banging and soul searching among management and evaluators to determine the best utilization of the 3 premier corner-OF’s for the Reds. Should a platoon be utilized? Should one of the three be traded for a king’s ransom and if so, which one?

    Tacked into the potential for adding Winker to the 25-man roster is the breakout season for Aristides Aquino in 2016 and the potential of young OF’s in Taylor Trammell and T.J. Friedl.

    Ah, I love spring training and the dreams of what might be…

    • 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).

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

    • Winker will not (better not!) be promoted to ride the bench. That’s something that the WJ/Price or WJ/Baker duos would have done. If DW promotes Winker, then it’s to replace either Duvall or Schebler as a corner OF. If Price chooses to bench Winker in favor of playing Duvall and Schebler as the starting corner OF, then I hope he is placing his job in direct and immenent jeopardy.

  5. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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

    • It’s quite possible that Schebler is a platoon player. He’s yet to hit LHP much at all. I think he can be a useful MLB player but I still firmly believe that the Reds could have gotten more for Frazier. Maybe the 2017 money was the killer, and of course maybe they couldn’t have gotten more. I’m not saying I’m certainly correct.

      I hope Schebler becomes a very productive MLB player and regular starter who doesn’t need a platoon partner. If that can happen OR if Rookie Davis can be a #3 or #4 starting pitcher, then the Reds got good value in that trade. If both turn out to happen, then the Reds got excellent value in that trade. Until then, I’ll remain skeptical of the Frazier trade.

      • Somewhere above we got our trades of Frazier and Chapman blended: 🙂

        Frazier for Peraza, Schebler, and Dixon
        Chapman for Cotham, Davis, Renda, and Jagielo

        • Thanks Tom… That’s right… I guess that would mean if Peraza can be a good MLB player as well as Schebler, the Reds did well for themselves in that trade. The Chapman trade was a big dump plain and simple. I hope Davis turns into a 3-4 starter and that Jagielo can at least be a util player.

  6. 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)

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • Saying Duvall is a 30+ guy and Winker is an 8 guy is sort of best-case-worst-casing it.

          Every scout thinks Winker will be in the 15-20 range at maturity. Last year was an aberration.

          The odds of Winker not being better than Duvall after Winker has a full year of MLB under his belt are very, very low in my opinion.

          • I think things will sort themselves out. Winker can go to AAA…Much like Schebler did a year ago….And find his groove knowing he’s playing every day. Wasn’t it May when schebler won player of month? Duvall’s limitations are well known…Clearly…He is not your “5 tool” outfielder…
            But he does have an elite power tool…Which plays very well at GABP and should not be diminished. He also plays golf glove caliber defense with reasonable speed and arm. Hamilton is the guy everyone pencils in as mr automatic when he’s never been a productive player for an entire season…With his slight frame and back to back 120 game injury seasons …Hamilton is the outfielder most likely to not be in starting lineup by mid june

          • 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.

        • 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.

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

        • My questions about Schebler are: Can he hit LHP consistently enough or is he a platoon player? Does he have enough arm for RF?

    • Bad idea.
      Would you trade a young Trout?
      If Adam can hit 35 HRs and drive in 100, with a lot of control left, is that not what you want?

      • 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.

      • You can’t be serious with that sort of comment.

        Duvall isn’t 30% of the player Mike Trout is.

      • Your Right, but how do you fit in Winkler, later this year or next?


    • When the Reds lost Mesoraco for 2 seasons, this is something he brought to the field that the Reds really missed, behond his offensive contributions. Mesoraco plays with fire and brimstone. I really believe his style of play was a big contributing factor in the Reds decision to extend his contract.

    • *Winker

      Or, WINKER, I guess…

    • 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.

      • Yes, sometimes too much intensity and fire is actually a bad thing for a baseball player. I like players who show emotion, but the “rah rah” and “plays with fire” narrative is way overrated as far as value in baseball.

        • I remember when Todd Frazier finally got promoted to the Reds — it might have been later in the same season after he had been told he had a spot, then lost it before Opening Day — the Reds’ announcers said how Frazier was the only player to show much life in an otherwise silent dugout. I’m not sure how much that adds, but enthusiasm can’t help but be a good thing.

  8. 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:)

  9. There you said it, Chad … looking for a high team OBP. You can’t get ’em in if you can’t get ’em on.

  10. mlb rumors is projecting that mes starts the season on the dl, that arroyo doesn’t make the team, nor ‘barren. they project the bench as Alcantara, Jennings, turner and rayburn.

    • The same cite has Garrett as one the five starters on the reds as the season starts.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

    • 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.

  13. 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).

  14. Winker has doubled and homered today. He’s having a solid spring and starting to show some power. Good news.

  15. I don’t know. I didn’t see that much from Schebler last season to warrant him getting a starting spot. He is showing some hitting this ST. But, then, so has Winker.

    I wonder if this means Kivlehan has turned enough heads to be considered. Or, maybe platoon with Schebler? Maybe not these two, but I’m seeing a platoon in RF right now.

  16. 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.

Comments are closed.

About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at


2017 Reds, 2017 Spring Training