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  • Jesse Winker is Primed for a Bounceback Season


    Kyle Ginsbach

    The Brewers front office staff have been more creative with Major League Baseball in a spending flux. Relatively quietly, they swung a trade with the Seattle Mariners to bring in slugger Jesse Winker, who may be primed for a big season in Milwaukee.


     

    Image courtesy of © Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

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    In recent memory, the Brewers have had quite the knack for finding offensive weapons via trade. They brought in Christain Yelich from Miami, Willy Adames from Tampa Bay, and William Contreras from Atlanta, all of whom are key pieces of the current team. By acquiring Jesse Winker, the Brewers once again brought in another hitter who can produce similarly, and the move hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves.

    Winker’s previous season in Seattle was a struggle for the former All-Star. He battled injuries, didn’t click with his new teammates, and posted a career-worst wRC+ of 109. After all that, Winker returns to his former division with plenty of reason to believe last year's performance was an outlier.

    Before Winker’s poor 2022 season, he terrorized pitchers as a member of the Brewers’ division rival Cincinnati Reds. Winker broke out offensively in the shortened 2020 season, posting a wRC+ over 140 and popping 12 home runs in the short campaign. He’d continue the success by making his first all-star game in 2021, where he slashed .305/.394/.556 as the Reds' cleanup hitter.

    So what went wrong in Seattle? The answer isn’t simple, but it has to do with multiple things. Firstly, Winker started slow and bounced around the lineup, batting in numerous spots. Should Winker get off to a better start, he’ll find himself at the top of the lineup daily in Milwaukee.

    Secondly, his new home ballpark in Seattle wasn’t close to a good match. In 2022, His OPS at home was a measly .625, while his OPS eclipsed a respectable .700 playing away from T-Mobile park. Compare that to his time in Cincinnati, where he has a career .930 OPS. With a shift to Milwaukee, Winker should thrive again, transitioning back to a hitter-friendly park, though not quite as hitter-friendly as the one he found in Great American Ballpark.

    The change to playing at American Family Field should also be easier on Winker. Not only did he visit the park frequently as a member of the Reds, but he hit exceptionally well in Milwaukee, with a career OPS 1.032 OPS in American Family Field. Notably, the fraction of success Winker did have with the bat last year came when he hit .307/.358/.484 against NL teams, something he’ll see more of as a member of the Brewers.

    If you’re worried about Winker’s ugly history of injuries, there's a reason for optimism there too. Winker is a poor fielder by trade and is the Brewers' prime candidate for the everyday DH. Getting starts there can go a long way in ensuring a healthy season from the newly acquired slugger.

    Most importantly, Winker's game adjustments last year should translate into success. By checking in on his statcast and sabermetrics, Winker saw an increase in his plate discipline. His BB% jumped nearly five percent, while his K% stayed at only 18 percent. Both his whiff and chase rates were excellent, ranking in the top third of baseball. And while his xMetrics weren’t necessarily great, it's clear the only area Winker needs to make adjustments in is making hard contact once again. 

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    Another important factor is Winker’s contract status. He’ll only see one guaranteed year in Milwaukee before hitting the free agency market, and with a good season, Winker will put himself in a position to receive a multi-year deal. Although this certainly doesn't guarantee success, Winker does have one more thing to play for, himself.

    Do you think Winker can bounce back as a member of the Brewers? Let us hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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    I really like the Winker trade.  He is motivated being his contract year, coming off of injury, and playing in a hitter friendly environment.  All for the cost of a Colton Wong, I think this was a great buy low trade.  

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    It’s funny that even in a bad year by Winker he managed an xwOBA of .345 which would have been second best on the Brewers behind Rowdy and was 34th among qualified MLB hitters. He’s a very good hitter with considerably more upside at the plate than any of the players we lost this year. 

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    22 minutes ago, Underachiever said:

    That photo looks like Winker played for the Brewers in the mid-90s with that uniform.

    That's partially why I chose it. :classic_tongue:

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    https://sports.mynorthwest.com/1680271/whats-going-on-jesse-winker-mariners/

     

    Found this very interesting

     

    Goes some way to explaining a bad attitude but also I kinda feel for him, because everyone preps differently and if he just turns up to play baseball and that keeps him in the fun side of things and performing well, he's just right. No one cares if you're performing well, but if you're struggling then the eyes turn, and I wonder if a bit more vet presence on the Brewers can rally around him a bit and make him feel more part of the team? 

    Hoping the contract year helps him a bit too, and there's some give back from him as clubhouse is pretty important to the crew as well. Tbh i think its very possible the guy was struggling and depressed, and a bit pissy because of it but this year will see

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    Kyle Ginsbach
  • Brewer Fanatic Contributor
  • Posted

    9 hours ago, Robocaller said:

    Does anyone have good information about his injuries? I know it was a neck and a knee, and both required surgery.

     

    Here what's he missed so far in his career:

    • 19 days with a arm injury in 2017
    • 68 days with a shoulder injury in 2018
    • 43 with a neck injury in 2019
    • 33 with a oblique injury in 2021
    • This offseason had a meniscus cleanup in his left knee, and surgery on disc in his neck

    The most games he's ever played in a season was last year, and he was no where near 100%

     

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    2 hours ago, Kyle Ginsbach said:

    Here what's he missed so far in his career:

    • 19 days with a arm injury in 2017
    • 68 days with a shoulder injury in 2018
    • 43 with a neck injury in 2019
    • 33 with a oblique injury in 2021
    • This offseason had a meniscus cleanup in his left knee, and surgery on disc in his neck

    The most games he's ever played in a season was last year, and he was no where near 100%

     

    Thanks. I guess I don't know how serious a "meniscus cleanup" is and how likely it is to work. I know a couple of people who have had similar neck surgery, and while they live without pain, they have told me their neck never feels 100% either.

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    10 hours ago, jakedood said:

    https://sports.mynorthwest.com/1680271/whats-going-on-jesse-winker-mariners/

     

    Found this very interesting

     

    Goes some way to explaining a bad attitude but also I kinda feel for him, because everyone preps differently and if he just turns up to play baseball and that keeps him in the fun side of things and performing well, he's just right. No one cares if you're performing well, but if you're struggling then the eyes turn, and I wonder if a bit more vet presence on the Brewers can rally around him a bit and make him feel more part of the team? 

    Hoping the contract year helps him a bit too, and there's some give back from him as clubhouse is pretty important to the crew as well. Tbh i think its very possible the guy was struggling and depressed, and a bit pissy because of it but this year will see

    That sure doesn't paint him in a positive light.  I can't imagine any locker room is going to appreciate his type on the team.  I hope we didn't just get a negative influence on the locker room.  I don't think we can afford that.  I doubt a guy like him can suddenly flick a switch and become a great teammate.  I don't know if we even have a guy on this team that can turn him around.

    Pretty disappointing really.

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    1 hour ago, TURBO said:

    That sure doesn't paint him in a positive light.  I can't imagine any locker room is going to appreciate his type on the team.  I hope we didn't just get a negative influence on the locker room.  I don't think we can afford that.  I doubt a guy like him can suddenly flick a switch and become a great teammate.  I don't know if we even have a guy on this team that can turn him around.

    Pretty disappointing really.

    Zero complaints from his time as a Red. By all accounts he was a great teammate there….Last year was a tough season for him. The toughest of his MLB career. I’m sure a lot of it was borne out of frustration. 

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    1 hour ago, Brewcrew82 said:

    Zero complaints from his time as a Red. By all accounts he was a great teammate there….Last year was a tough season for him. The toughest of his MLB career. I’m sure a lot of it was borne out of frustration. 

    Ok, but when things get tough, and you act like that, it shows a little bit about your character, right?

    Just hope we don't get that version of Winker if things don't go his way early on.

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    1 minute ago, TURBO said:

    Ok, but when things get tough, and you act like that, it shows a little bit about your character, right?

    Just hope we don't get that version of Winker if things don't go his way early on.

    We'll see. I just don't think that one rough, injury plagued season is indicative that he'll be a problem in the clubhouse. 

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    1 hour ago, TURBO said:

    Ok, but when things get tough, and you act like that, it shows a little bit about your character, right?

    Just hope we don't get that version of Winker if things don't go his way early on.

    I think it's definitely something to keep an eye on but after being traded and having a bad season by his own standards, frustration isn't surprising.

    I mean, we all have our moments of acting like asses when stress levels rise. We'll see whether Winker learned anything from his 2022 season soon enough.

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    owbc
  • Community Moderator
  • Posted

    On 1/10/2023 at 3:34 AM, jakedood said:

    https://sports.mynorthwest.com/1680271/whats-going-on-jesse-winker-mariners/

     

    Found this very interesting

     

    Goes some way to explaining a bad attitude but also I kinda feel for him, because everyone preps differently and if he just turns up to play baseball and that keeps him in the fun side of things and performing well, he's just right. No one cares if you're performing well, but if you're struggling then the eyes turn, and I wonder if a bit more vet presence on the Brewers can rally around him a bit and make him feel more part of the team? 

    Hoping the contract year helps him a bit too, and there's some give back from him as clubhouse is pretty important to the crew as well. Tbh i think its very possible the guy was struggling and depressed, and a bit pissy because of it but this year will see

    I would take what Divish is reporting with a grain of salt. It’s hard to explain unless you follow the Mariners but he’s not one to report two sides to a story, and especially one that paints a narrative of Winker that paints him in a negative light. Divish often rubs me the wrong way. Just recently he reported some rumors about Dipoto and Servais being widely disliked in MLB circles which seemed fishy. 
     

    I don’t doubt that Winker was frustrated and he certainly looks lazy in the field and on the bases, but he didn’t look that way at the plate when he was routinely having some of the best ABs on the team. 
     

    The Brewers did take advantage of the Mariners wanting to dump Winker, but that’s hopefully us taking advantage of a guy who clearly needed to be traded and not some sort of clubhouse cancer. The Brewers just did the same with Renfroe who had his own set of rumors which sounded way worse than Winker. 

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