CINCINNATI — Reds outfielder Jesse Winker is one of the hottest hitters in all of Major League Baseball.
“I really don't want to give an at-bat away," Winker said. "Honestly, I want to go up there and I want to be ultra-competitive. I want to hit the ball hard. I want to try to set the tone, any way that I can.”
Winker has 13 home runs this season, and his .348 batting average is just behind teammate Nick Castellanos for the Major League lead.
“This one-two punch of Winker and Castellanos, they're both kind of zigzagging and going back and forth for the hitting title," MLB.com Reds reporter Mark Sheldon said.
The duo's production makes for a friendly competition, but Castellanos says they both just want to help the team win.
“I'm just coming up a lot with the bases empty," Castellanos said while laughing. "It's not a bad thing man, you know he's getting his pitch to hit and he's not missing it. So that's credit to him.”
After a three-home run performance against the Brewers, Winker is a hot name in the MVP conversation, and the national audience is taking notice.
“Jesse Winker steps in the box and he knows he rakes," former MLB player Mark DeRosa said. "It oozes off of him, the ability to go the other way, the ability to handle all pitches.”
Reds manager David Bell says Winker’s success is due to him growing as a player and person.
“He's popular in the clubhouse, the other players love him and there's just so much that goes into it, so much work," Bell said. "When you can see a player just maturing right before your eyes, it's a beautiful thing to watch.”