A quirky statistic that always brings a smile to my face is that since his debut in the big leagues during the 2017 season, Jesse Winker is the owner of a 132 wRC+.
I suppose I could have phrased that a bit better, and for that I apologize. The quirky stat that makes me smile is that in his own efforts since the start of the 2017 MLB season, Joey Votto, too, is the owner of a 132 wRC+.
Jesse Winker, Joey Votto, the presents of the Cincinnati Reds offense, lefties who mash and walk with similar proclivities, dubya RC-plussin’ in similar fashions - buttressed on the front page of the league-wide wRC+ leaderboard over that span by former MVPs Josh Donaldson (133) and Kris Bryant (130).
That particular linked leaderboard includes a PA threshold, for what it’s worth. There was a 1500 PA minimum, meaning 194 players made that cut. What does not bring a smile to my face is that Winker, with just 1523, checks in with the 5th fewest that made the arbitrary cut - just 2 behind Ryan Braun, who retired a while back.
Yes, Winker’s 2017 season was his first taste of the bigs, one that came after an impressive 83 games with AAA Louisville that year. Since then, though, a wide swath of injuries (and a pandemic-shortened season) have conspired to keep one of the brightest offensive players in the recent history of the club mostly a myth than a performance artist, and that simply must change in 2022 if this modified version of the stripped-down Reds are to truly mash their way back into relevance.
As it stands now, Winker has played in just 413 career games in a Cincinnati uniform. For reference, that’s barely more than Devin Mesoraco (402) put up before his trade to the New York Mets. Winker has logged fewer career games as a Red than even Adam Duvall (439), and my memory makes it feel as if Duvall was barely around at all before being traded.
The first New Year’s Redsolution this club must strive to make true: keep Jesse Winker on the field somehow, some way. No more intercostal strains, no shoulder subluxations, no cervical strains, no hamstring pulls - a full, 600+ PA season must be atop the team’s to-do list when the 2022 season hits the field.