Imagine three young players get called up for a month or so. It’s for that clichéd cup of first experience as a major leaguer. Here’s what they produce:
Player 1 hits .283/.320/.403 wRC+ of 94 (in 41 games, 169 PA)
Player 2 hits .224/.320/.466 wRC+ of 118 (in 57 games, 200 PA)
Player 3 hits .298/.375/.529 wRC+ of 135 (in 47 games, 137 PA)
Each makes the big league team the next year and as a rookie stumbles out of the gate:
Player 1 (age 23) hits .193/.247/.349 in May
Player 2 (age 23) hits .152/.188/.364 in April
Player 3 (age 24) hits .174/.278/.246 in May
All three are busts, right? Can’t hit.
Time to pull back the curtain.
Player 1 is Barry Larkin. Player 2 is Eric Davis. Player 3 is Jesse Winker.
I’m not saying Winker is going to hit like Larkin and Davis. But maybe we shouldn’t write Jesse Winker into oblivion after a bad month this early in his career. He did, after all, hit .305/.414/.390 in April. And I doubt he’s become physically weaker than last year, when he hit seven home runs in 47 games.
Let’s watch a little longer before we pass judgment. A player can have a bad month during his rookie year and still turn into a great hitter.
Steve grew up in Cincinnati a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. Contemporary Reds thrills: witnessing Jay Bruce’s 2010 homer and Homer Bailey’s 2013 no-hitter in person. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 280 characters about the Reds is Redleg Nation, although you can follow his tweets @spmancuso.