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Jocketty checks out left-field prospect Winker in AFL

Young power hitter could impact Reds' offseason strategy in long-term
MLB.com @Tom_Singer

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The General Managers Meetings being sort of like a camp for Major League executives anyway, a lot of them went on a day-trip Wednesday to check out some of their brightest prospects in action for Arizona Fall League teams.

Reds GM Walt Jocketty was among those taking advantage of the AFL delaying the start of afternoon games from 12:35 p.m. local time to 2:35, to accommodate GMs busy with agenda sessions through the early afternoon.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The General Managers Meetings being sort of like a camp for Major League executives anyway, a lot of them went on a day-trip Wednesday to check out some of their brightest prospects in action for Arizona Fall League teams.

Reds GM Walt Jocketty was among those taking advantage of the AFL delaying the start of afternoon games from 12:35 p.m. local time to 2:35, to accommodate GMs busy with agenda sessions through the early afternoon.

Jocketty took in Surprise's game in Scottsdale Stadium, most curious about the outfielder who could be the long-term solution in left field. Jesse Winker, the organization's Minor League Hitter of the Year in 2013 and a Futures Game participant four months ago, is putting up big numbers for the Saguaros.

Winker, a 6-foot-3 left-handed power hitter, was Cincinnati's first-round selection in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, out of high school. So he only turned 21 years old three months ago and "is quite a ways away," Jocketty said.

But while Winker -- ranked as the Reds' No. 2 prospect by MLB.com -- is not in the picture for '15, he does influence Jocketty's ability to fill the left-field vacancy. The Reds are canvassing both the free-agent and trade markets for shorter-term solutions, and could be out of the running for any outfielder seeking a three-year commitment.

In three Minor League seasons, Winker most impressively has an .890 OPS, with a .401 on-base percentage. He has hit .297 with nearly as many walks (157) as strikeouts (193).

Winker torched the California League this season for Class A Advanced Bakersfield with a .317 average and 1.006 OPS, then had a rough ascension in August to Double-A, hitting .208 in 21 games in the Southern League.

In the AFL, he's regained his mojo. In Surprise's first 19 games, Winker had driven in 18 runs and was batting .338 with an OPS of .999 on a slash of .440/.559.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cincinnati Reds, Jesse Winker