Jesse Winker

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Jesse Winker

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Biographical Information[edit]

Outfielder Jesse Winker was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the supplemental first round of the 2012 amateur draft, 49th overall. He soon signed and made his pro debut with the Billings Mustangs, hitting .338 with 5 home runs in 62 games. He started the 2013 campaign with the Dayton Dragons.

Winker's first major league hit, on April 15, 2017 was a double off Carlos Torres of the Milwaukee Brewers that drove in the go-ahead run in the 6th inning of a 7-5 win. He had made his major league debut the day before. He had a good first season, hitting .298 in 47 games, with 7 homers and 15 RBIs; his OPS+ was 132. He made 24 starts in right field that year, as he was not yet a regular. In 2018 he saw playing time in both left and right field as he played 89 games and hit .299 with 7 homers again and 43 RBIs. His OPS+ was 125. This led to his having a starting job for the first time in 2019, when he played 113 games. He started at least 18 times in all three outfield spots, but left field was his most common home, with 72 games. His production fell somewhat, to .269, with 16 homers and 38 RBIs, as reflected by an OPS+ of 107.

In 2020, when the season was cut to 60 games by the COVID-19 pandemic, he appeared in 54 of them and was one of the team's best offensive players, hitting 12 homers and driving in 23 runs to go along with a .255 average. None of these figures led the team, but his OPS+ of 138 did as the Reds made it to the postseason. But the hitting stopped there - as it did for everyone on the team - as Cincinnati was shut out by the Atlanta Braves in both games of the Wild Card Series. He was 1 for 6 with a walk and a hit by pitch in his first taste of the postseason. In 2021, he was one of the top hitters in all of baseball over the first few weeks. On May 21st, he had the first three-homer game of his career in a 9-4 win over the Brewers. He was making a bid for the MVP Award as at the end of the game, he was leading the National League with a .356 average, a .664 slugging percentage and an OPS of 1.081 in 37 games. On June 6th, he had another three-homer game, this one in an 8-7 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. He was named to the All-Star team for the first time, but saw his season basically end on August 15th with an intercostal muscle strain: he only appeared in one game after that date. His absence coincided with the Reds falling out of postseason contention. In all, he played in 110 games, with 24 homers and 71 RBIs, and an OPS+ of 140.

On March 14, 2022, he was traded to the Seattle Mariners along with Eugenio Suarez in return for Justin Dunn, Jake Fraley, Brandon Williamson and a player to be named later, who turned out to be P Connor Phillips. He was regularly installed as the Mariners' lead-off hitter, due to the lack of better options and whiel he was only hitting .230 through June 26th, his OBP was a very good .353, thanks to an American League-leading 48 walks. That day, he was at the center of a fracas in a game against the Los Angeles Angels, after he was hit by a pitch thrown by Andrew Wantz in the top of the 2nd inning (he was batting clean-up in that game). He took exception, as he considered that the pitch was in retaliation for Angels star Mike Trout having been buzzed by a pitch the night before. In fact, warnings had already been issued to both teams after Wantz had thrown a pitch behind rookie star Julio Rodríguez in the 1st inning, Winker exchanged words with Wantz, and then ran for the Angels' dugout down the third base line, starting a fight with 3B Anthony Rendon, who was out for the season with a wrist injury. This immediately led to a bench-clearing brawl resulting in eight ejections, among which were Winker, Wantz, both managers, and four other players. The next day, Winker was assessed a seven-game suspension for his role in the brawl. He ended up playing 136 games and batted .219 in 136 games, with 14 homers and 53 RBIs. His OPS+ tumbled all the way to 103. The Mariners still returned to the postseason after an absence of over two decades but he was unable to play due to a cervical disk bulge.

On December 2, 2022, he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers along with IF Abraham Toro in return for 2B Kolten Wong. About a month before he was traded, he had undergone disc replacement surgery, a very rare procedure for baseball players, but one successfully before in the NHL, NFL and mixed martial arts.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • NL All-Star (2021)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 1 (2021)

Further Reading[edit]

  • Daniel Kramer and Sarah Wexler: "Winker HBP leads to intense benches-clearing scene",, June 26, 2022. [1]
  • Adam McCalvy: "Winker 'feeling strong' after serious spinal surgery",, February 14, 2023. [2]
  • Mark Sheldon: "For Reds prospect Winker, 2015 about 'growth'",, December 5, 2015. [3]

Related Sites[edit]