This week’s respondents are Jason Linden, Wes Jenkins, Bill Lack, Grant Freking, and Chad Dotson.
Our Daily Reds Obsession: Will Jesse Winker win the 2018 Rookie of the Year award?
Jason: Nope. Because Nick Senzel will. Yes, I’m serious. What I think can be realistically expected from Winker: an OBP right around .400, enough homers and doubles to put the SLG around .480, and mediocre defense. That is really, really not bad. Jesse Winker will definitely hit. I have no doubts about that. However, the Reds have shown their hand by saying Senzel will take reps at second in the spring. I don’t think Senzel will start the year with the club, but I think he’ll be up by mid-April, once the Reds have assured themselves an additional year of control. At which point, he’ll get on base like Winker except with more power and while playing the infield. And this isn’t like when Suarez had to learn third. Senzel played some second in college, which wasn’t that long ago for him. Winker might well finish second (now, that would be a fun year, huh?).
Also, here’s a fun fact for you: Jesse Winker is only still a rookie because rookie status is determined by at-bats (he has 121) and not PAs (137). If he had walked 9 fewer times, he wouldn’t be a rookie anymore.
Wes: I mean, probably not, but you could’ve asked “Will Tucker Barnhart win a Gold Glove” last year and I also would’ve said no. Personally, I’ve always thought the expectations put on Winker were way too high. He’s a good player with sound tools, but he won’t make or break the trajectory of this team. No one should expect Winker to pull a Judge and light the world on fire. Best-scenario for Winker in my mind is Reds-era Shin-Soo Choo, which I think he can be, it’ll just be a couple years down the road. But if Winker does a Choo impression this season? Yeah, I could see him taking Rookie of the Year, assuming, you know, Nick Senzel doesn’t take it.
Bill: Based on past history, I’d say not a chance. I’m almost completely convinced that Winker will be no more than a part-time player in ’18. Brian Price has already basically said as much. I think the Reds outfield will be some form of four-headed monster through most, if not all, of 2018 and I believe this will come at the expense of playing time for Winker. The only way this will be avoided is for the front office to make a trade that clears a spot for Winker to play every day. What I’d like to see is Winker in the lineup every day, hitting in the 1 or 2 spot and clogging the bases for Votto and company that would be hitting behind him.
Grant: Winker’s bid for Rookie of the Year depends on Dick Williams’ desire to trade Adam Duvall and/or Billy Hamilton. (I think it’s possible both players could be moved, and I’d be surprised if Duvall and Hamilton were both on the Opening Day roster). A four-man outfield rotation of Winker, Duvall, Hamilton and Scott Schebler — with Phil Ervin deserving of some spot starts, too — is untenable and an unnecessary day-in, day-out headache for Bryan Price. Once the dust settles on the outfield market next month, I expect the trade rumors to kick into high gear. If Winker plays every day, he could be the Reds first ROY since Scott Williamson (!!!) in 1999.
Chad: Yes. Unless he doesn’t, in which case it’ll be Senzel. This is all so obvious, I don’t know why you’re asking.