Jesse Winker continues to hit, get on base

After doubling in back-to-back games on Monday and Tuesday, Jesse Winker is starting to heat up.

He currently has a modest three game hitting streak, but that does not tell the whole story for the top prospect outfielder.

Winker has been hot the entire month of August so far and it hitting .371 with a .907 OPS. However, getting on base is nothing new for him.

Similar to the Joey Votto model, all Winker does is get on base. For August, he posted a .450 OBP with Triple-A Louisville through the first 10 games. For the year, Winker has a .384 OBP at the level, and has raised his season batting average to .293 after hitting in seven of his last 10 games, including three multi-hit efforts.

Through just under five professional seasons, Winker has an OPS of just slightly under .400. However, his slugging percentage is at .458 through Wednesday as well. Winker has plenty of speed and athleticism, but has yet to attempt a stolen base in 2016.

With Scott Schebler struggling at the plate in Cincinnati outside of his walk off home run debut against the Cardinals, it is only a matter of time until Winker gets a shot as well.

The main question for Winker is when the power will develop, or better yet, if. In a four-game rehab assignment in Arizona toward the beginning of July, Winker hit two homers in just 13 at bats, making it look like something clicked.

However, he still just has 18 doubles and two homers in 297 at bats with Louisville. In fact, that equates to only 23 percent of his hits going for extra bases.

Winker also missed about a month of action with a wrist injury this season. He carries a slight injury history as well. He actually had a strained tendon in the same wrist previously in an auto accident. Winker has also dealt with a hip ailment this season and has seen a foot injury in the past as well.

Winker has been touted as one of the three future outfielders for the Reds in upcoming seasons, and he is a safe prediction to fit that role well. He will certainly go up and get on base, just as he has done at every level.

His play in the outfield projects to a possible right fielder, but a solid left fielder in Great American Ball Park. The only question is whether he will hit for enough power to really have value as a corner outfielder.

Thus far, Winker has not shown that ability. He is just 22 years old in Triple-A, so he still has time to fill out and develop. However, how he is able to grow into this ability will certainly determine his true value.

 

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