The Cincinnati Reds have an interesting situation staring them in the face for the 2018 season. What is their outfield going to look like? There seem to be four options for three spots among the players currently on the roster: Billy Hamilton, Adam Duvall, Scott Schebler and Jesse Winker. Each of the four players has their strengths and weaknesses.

Let’s start out with Billy Hamilton, who’s been with the team longer than any of the others. Hamilton’s strengths are very clear: He can play incredible defense and he’s a true difference maker on the bases. Hamilton has been the second most valuable baserunner in 2017 in the Major Leagues (Byron Buxton is first). He has also been the 12th most valuable defensive player in the Major Leagues. The problem is that his bat has also been the 11th worst in baseball. The overall package of his offense and defense has been worth 1.3 WAR according to Fangraphs and 1.0 according to Baseball-Reference.

Adam Duvall has hit 30+ doubles and 30+ home runs in each of the last two seasons. The power is his biggest strength. He’s generally rated out as a quality defender, too, but not a standout. Despite the power being strong, his offense is actually a bit below-average because he struggles to get on base. His on-base percentage is at .296 for the last two seasons because he doesn’t hit for average and doesn’t compensate it by drawing walks at a high rate. In 2016 he was a little bit better at everything and posted a 2.9 or 3.2 WAR depending on where you looked. In 2017, with the league-wide offensive improvement and small decline in all of the other areas he’s only been worth 1.5 WAR (at both Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference).

Scott Schebler‘s strength, like Duvall, is his power. In his first full season he’s hit 25 doubles and 30 home runs. He played through a shoulder injury in July before hitting the disabled list and it tanked his overall numbers on the season. Outside of July he’s hit .257/.333/.535. In July he hit just .136/.200/.284. Depending on where you fall in terms of should we expect his overall line to represent what to expect moving forward, or the “outside of July” is what we should expect moving forward, you could be looking at basically a league average hitter, or an above-average one. He’s also provided some positive value on the bases, though it’s not a ton. Where he’s graded out a little bit below-average has been in the field. This season he’s been worth 1.3 or 1.5 WAR depending on where you look.

Jesse Winker has clearly been the best hitter among the group, but he’s also had about a fourth of the playing time, too. He has walked significantly more often, and struck out significantly less often than either of the other two corner outfielders. His strength is clearly with the bat. Despite having just 136 plate appearances, he’s provided more value offensively than anyone on the Reds not named Joey Votto, Zack Cozart, Eugenio Suarez or Scooter Gennett. He’s hit .292/.370/.525 in his time with the Reds, showing off a bit more power than expected to this point in his big league career. Where he’s struggled, granted in a small sample size, is on defense. From the numbers he’s been a well below-average defender, but with the sample size we’re dealing with, that’s not great information to pin our hats on. With that said, even scouting wise, he’s the worst defender of the four.

Bryan Price has noted that those are the four guys that seem to be in the mix for 2018 for the Reds outfield. How would you enter the offseason plans for the outfield as you look forward to next spring? Are you looking to make a trade to open a spot? Are you looking to make a trade to acquire a different starter? What’s the plan you would try to execute?

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49 Responses

  1. Norwood Nate

    I’d trade one for sure. Duvall’s my choice to try to trade because I think Schebler’s a better hitter and he’s younger. Plus that way Winker could move to LF where his deficiencies on defense won’t be magnified as much.

    Ideally, I’d like to see the Reds start with Winker, Hamilton, Schebler, Kivlehan, and Ervin as the OF’ers. Ervin would platoon in CF with Hamilton and start against LH pitchers. When he’s not starting, he could come in as a defensive replacement for either corner guy and be useful as a PR off the bench. Kivlehan would be a PH bat who can cover all four corners, a valuable bench piece.

    That would seem to set the Reds up nicely in their OF mix for 2018 and moving forward. Maybe Duvall could bring back a high leverage bullpen piece or be part of a package to bring back a starting SS that’s an improvement over Peraza.

  2. Ralph

    I would try to trade Duvall for starting pitching and go with Winker Hamilton Schebler. Ervin as 4th OF. Have Winker lead off and Hamilton hit 9th.

  3. DocProc

    Hard to imagine Duvall being “not a standout” on defense. He leads MLB LFs in assists and has made more stellar catches than I can count.

    I think we need to trade the outfielder who will garner the greatest return. In my book, that’s Billy. Power-hitting corner outfielders with high strikeouts and low BA are a dime a dozen. However, the fastest player in baseball with a great glove and range in CF is likely still valuable to a club in need of speed and defense.

    Of course, if they trade Billy, I think Ervin is the likely replacement in CF–so that still doesn’t solve the Duvall/Schebler/Winker problem.

    • Cguy

      Duvall may not be considered a standout by some, but it’s been a long time since the Reds had a left fielder of Adam’s stature. From that perspective he’s definitely been an upgrade.

    • Mjc

      Docproc , I agree . Everywhere else I’ve read about Duvall`s defense being very good.a guy who avgs 30 + doubles, 30 +hr`s, 100 rbi,s strong defense at minimum salary. two full seasons into his career first one an all star. His second season almost a carbon copy of the first . We’re lucky to have him.

  4. Keith

    I’d trade Hamilton and Duvall. Go forward with Schebler, Winker and Ervin. I’ve seen enough of both of them to believe they won’t improve beyond this year.

    • KyWilson1

      Would trade Hamilton, and keep Duvall to platoon with Scheblar. We need a strong bench as well. The rest i agree with, Ervin and Winker need their time now. If you want to keep Hamilton on the bench as a pinch runner and defensive replacement that is fine, but he is not a starter.

  5. Todd

    I say move Schebler – as Duval’s age works against his trade volume. I would then slot Winker in left and move Duval to right (much better arm than Jesse). I do think it is time to platoon center with bHam and PE.

  6. Datdudejs

    I re-sign Zack Cozart, and see what Suarez can do in LF. I trade both Duvall and Schebler for best prospects I can get, regardless of position. I also have mez play 1b and Lf in spring and move him away from catching to keep him healthy. Then my outfield would be Winker, Billy, Suarez, and Ervin. Mez and peraza could get spot starts out there. Senzel would start in AAA but would be up to the bigs pretty quickly as long as he isn’t getting exposed/struggling.

  7. Colin

    In isolation I’d agree with trying to trade Duvall and keeping Schebler. The issue then becomes that we’re ridiculously lefty heavy assuming they hold on to Gennet. If we decide that we need the righty bat too much, i’m sticking with Schebler over Winker.

    I don’t see one of those three playing even average centre field so I feel somewhat stuck with bHam for now. I don’t think Ervin’s bat makes up for the defensive drop off that comes with it, although that’s very much an eye test thing. No idea what his D was like statistically, my uneducated opinion was not good…

    • Norwood Nate

      I hear what you’re saying, on days when it’s Winker, Hamilton, and Schebler across the outfield we would be significantly left-handed heavy. But if you’re going to lean one way, that’s probably the way to lean. I believe the last stat I saw was 73% of pitchers were RH. I would guess that number is higher for starting pitchers since most clubs have at least 2 lefties in the bullpen.

      I think one thing the Reds have going for them is that they have all the RH complements in system. Ervin, Kivlehan, Herrera, and Mesoraco can all be inserted into the line up whenever a particularly tough left-hander is on the mound. (Not to mention that Barnhart and Hamilton are technically switch hitters).

      VS LH: Mesoraco, Votto, Herrera, Peraza, Suarez, Winker, Ervin, Kivlehan
      VS RH: Barnhart, Votto, Gennett, Pereza, Suarez, Winker, Hamilton, Schebler

      • Jim t

        Nate I am trying to trade Mez this year. Isn’t he in the last year of his deal?

      • Norwood Nate

        He is, but who wants a catcher who hasn’t played a full season over the past three years? Two of those years he was out almost the entire year. He’s fine as a hitter/back up for one more year unless you are just going for a salary dump. But with salary commitment low for the Reds in 2018, and the alternative is that Turner is your back up with Wallach as emergency depth, I’d rather see if Mes can stay healthy and be flipped at the deadline if there’s demand (and there almost always is for a catcher).

  8. Bill

    Winker starts nearly every day for me in LF and bats at or near the top of the lineup. I think his high OBP ability is a better fit in the Red’s overall lineup. LF minimizes his defensive ability.

    Hamilton plays most of the time in CF and bats 9th to minimize his at bats. I would look to rest him two days a week.

    Schebler and Duvall split time in RF. Schebler slides over and plays CF to spell Hamilton when the Reds are playing in smaller ballparks. Duvall could spell Votto at 1B when the Reds need a DH. Based on his waning performance both last year and this year, the Reds need to factor in days off for Duvall. He’s just been a different player in the second half and his diabetes are a possible cause.

    I’d keep Kivlehan for pinch hitting off the bench and Ervin playing everyday at AAA ready to cover an injury.

    The Reds should be willing to listen to trade offers, but I like having depth going into next season and see no reason to move anyone just so everyone can have more clearly defined roles.

    • Greenfield Red

      Given the 40 man crunch, I think they have to drop Kivlehan this fall. If he catches on somewhere else, he can be replaced.

      • Bill

        I agree Kivlehan is a likely candidate to be dropped from the 40-man. He’s basically a replacement level player on the bench. If you need the roster spot or if you believe you can upgrade, you do it. I’m just not the Reds can find an upgrade for a player that is going to be the 4th or 5th guy off the bench. That’s why I have him on the team right now.

      • Norwood Nate

        Why? He’s carrying a BB% of 10.8 and an ISO of 192. He plays can cover 4 positions on the field and he’s not ARB eligible until 2020. Sounds like a very good bench piece to me.

  9. Brad

    1) trade Duvall, Lavalley, Stephenson and Santillan to Tampa for Chris Archer and a RP in Arbitration (Boxberger)

    2) Split time fairly evenly between Winker, Hamilton, Schebler and Ervin. Keep Kivlehan as 5th OF or use Peraza as super sub, or both.

  10. MK

    I am trading either Schebler or Duval then I am platooning Winker and Ervin as the replacement. The Reds had a similar circumstance back in 1970 when they platooned Bernie Carbo and Hal McRae in left field . It worked very well as team was NL Champions and Bernie was the Sporting News Rookie of the Year. They replaced a pretty good hitter in Alex Johnson. It provide some very nice offense and a great way to introduce two young players to big leagues and not rot on the bench

  11. mark l

    Datdude made a comment above about moving Suarez to the outfield. I think it would make more sense to move Gennett to the OF of all the current infielders. I could be wrong, but I believe Suarez would be a better 2b defensively than Scooter. No way to know for sure, i guess, but that would open up some options. I would shop Gennett, Duvall, and Schebler. Winker would start most days, and Hamilton would start 4 days a week with a defensive need platoon rather than worrying so much about who the other team is pitching. Whichever of the three shopped guys above are still with the team, that guy is the other OF. And in that scenario, Senzel is up as soon as we have the extra year of control and starting at 3b.

    • Datdudejs

      Scooter has looked a little rough out there already though, and Suarez has a much better arm was my reasoning for him being the one to make the switch

      • mark l

        Right field is way easier than 2b. Scooter should be able to make that switch

  12. Michael B. Green

    If Aquino shows plate discipline next year, then the OF will show Winker, a CF and Aquino until Trammell and Siri get there.

    That may point to some veteran stop-gaps.

    If Ervin is given a chance, you may see 2 OF’s dealt.

    Would Jose Iglesias make sense?

  13. MRB

    I would try to trade for Yelich or Ozuna to play center field. Then I would trade Schebler or Hamilton. My outfield would be Winker in left and Duvall in right. I would then try Suarez at short, second and corner outfield to see if he can play any of those once Senzel comes up.

  14. Shawn

    I would trade Hamilton, Duval and Schebler. All 3 are below average.Winker starts. Ervin and Kevlihan on the bench. Trade for or sign a free agent CFer and RFer. We have the minor league depth to get this done. The outfield is the only major moves I would make. I would wait till All star break to assess what needs done with pitching

  15. MikeinSoCal

    I agree with the poster that said Hamilton has better trade value. Duvall or Schebler is not going to bring you much so why give them away. Of the two I would keep Schebler because he is going to get better. Duvall puts up good numbers in several categories and we would have killed to have had him back in the Ludwick days but Schebler is my guy to keep. BHam is what he is but a contender lacking speed and defense would snatch him up.

  16. Billy

    I’m platooning Duvall and Schebler in RF. Winker is my full-time LF. Ervin gets a crack at being the starting CF, and Hamilton is the pinch runner/late-inning defensive replacement/backup CF. No trades for those guys just yet.

  17. Rutgers Carrington Trice

    Trade Duval, Hamilton and Iglesias for a for a young stud center fielder who can actually lead off. Re-sign Cozart for 2 plus an option. Peraza becomes a multi-position guy like about a half dozen Cubs. Unless your sure you want to give up on a guy, keep all your starters to see how they shake out. You can make a trade later if it’s called for. Worry about a closer when you actually need one.

  18. Wes

    From trade value perspective Duvall has most value by far due to his proven track record over past 2 seasons. I’d keep him do to his decent D. And replace him w trammell vs resigning

    Billy I’m always ready to replace but not eager. Love his value even if war don’t show it. Ervin and scherber are not sufficient replacements as of today. Scherber needs to be consistent and Ervin has to prove as everyday cf.

    Rf I’m giving to winker regardless. Or Left if Duvall is moved. But he’s a lock for next 2 seasons unless proven otherwise.

    Ervin can start in Louisville next season but can’t finish there or it’s prospect fatigue. He’s a great 4th of prospect; second to only Billy.

    first option needs to be trade Duvall as #2 piece to Castillo/Suarez/trammell trade that brings back front of end starter/cf/ss.

    If that doesn’t happen you have to phase out schebler if he produces at same rate or can’t outperform Billy next season.

    Then u got Duvall Billy and winker w Ervin as 4th. Hopefully Billy can take a small step forward for yuge return. If so that’s a solid outfield!

  19. Chris in NC

    If the Reds moved Duvall and Suarez back to their original positions, the “problem” would solve itself.

    The opening day lineup should be…

    CF Hamilton
    LF Winker
    1B Votto
    3B Duvall
    SS Suarez
    2B Gennett
    RF Schebler
    C Barnhart

    • CP

      Doing that turns 3 positions into liabilities next year defensively, where currently 3B and LF are at least above average. Not sure the addition to the offense would outweigh the subtraction netted with that kind of defense.

  20. HavaKlu

    I agree. Kivlehan hit .180 as a pinch hitter, striking out 41% of the time with an OPS of .567 Replace him with Blandino—-less power but more chance of getting on base.

  21. Simon Cowell

    I’m with others here I’ve seen nough of Hamilton to know he has hit his ceiling. Move Hamilton, Duvall, and one of of stellar rookies with potential for a proven ace in return. This will solve more problems than it would create. Winker sand Ervin should be starters opening day 2018

  22. Ryan

    Trade Hamilton, Taylor Trammel (or Jose Siri), Amir Garrett, and Vlad Gutierrez for Christian Yelich. Miami needs to rebuild so they take the deal, which gives them a new CF, future CF, a pitcher who can go into their current rotation, and a current top 10 pitching prospect.

    I would have the outfield as follows:
    LF – Jesse Winker
    CF – Christian Yelich
    RF – Platoon Scott Schebler (vs right handed SP) and Adam Duvall (vs left handed SP)

    If Miami won’t trade Yelich, then I would platoon Hamilton and Ervin in CF.

    • Shawn

      Looking at splits Peroza would be the one to platoon with Hamilton

    • Wes

      Love it! Reds can prob only make 1 trade like this so hope to see it and hope to get the right guy whether big a frontline starter cf or ss. I prefer frontline starter but yelich would be a great get!

      I don’t think marlins are rebuilding though. They may prefer Suarez to trammell and big sal to guit. Suarez sal Garrett and Billy. That gives em 4 starters and clears up log jam in rotation and if for reds

  23. Cguy

    I see few good reasons to trade any of our outfielders. Reds currently have a pretty good mix of talents with some speed, power, defense, hitting & all at minimal cost. Duvall seems to be the popular trade bait. If the Reds trade Duvall, they’d better get it done this winter or spring. His 2nd half let-down the last 2 years will drastically reduce his trade value next July. Still, with Duvall gone the Reds will be sending out Winker (.120 AVG/ .154 OBP) ;Hamilton (.223/.246); & Schebler (.276/.290) vs lefties. By the way, Adam is .275/.350 vs lefties. Plus replacing Duvall with Winker is a defensive drawback. Adam is turning 30 in a couple days & will be arbitration eligible after next season. I just don’t see the return for Duvall, improving the Reds anytime soon. It’s not worth the discussion to talk about trading Schebler or Winker. The Reds will know more by next July & even more a year from now. Which brings us to Billy. He’s going to be 28 next week & arbitration eligible this coming season. At some point in the next couple years, he’s going to lose a step. I still believe the Reds should keep Hamilton, except they continue to bat him leadoff & start him against lefties. In 166 AB this season against southpaws, Billy has 41 SO & only 8 steals. So with another season of Price at the helm, Hamilton should be shopped this winter. If the Reds could get a couple of “top 100 prospects” that didn’t have to be added to the 40 man roster, it’d be a good deal.

    • Redsvol

      I agree with you Cguy. There is no need to trade any of these outfielders because none are expensive and none seem to have much trade value. If someone offers value for one you trade him – regardless of who it is. Otherwise, the Reds need to take a page from Joe Maddon and utilize many more platoon options. None of our outfielders are worthy of 500 at bats. All can be platooned with more effectiveness until they either show something new or become too expensive.

  24. CP

    Not sure the Reds could get enough value for any of their OF’s to make it worth it to trade any of them. I’m for it if they could. Having four good OF’s is a nice problem to have, and gives insurance against injury during next year.

    I agree with other’s that Duvall or Hamilton may have the most value built up, but I would only trade them if they were in a package to help bring back upgrades at SS,CF or SP.

  25. Jim H.

    Trade Schebler & Duvall. Get someone with arm to truly play RF. Schebler & Duvall should fetch a few interesting prospects. There is so much time between now & February to see what’s to come. Going to be fun to follow.

  26. DW

    At this stage of the Reds rebuild I believe you have to listen on each of Hamilton, Duvall, and Schebler. Open up dialog on all three to see what the return looks like. Base your starting OF off this and who is left over. Gennett and Mesoraco are other names to throw out there. Pitching is a strong need.
    Suarez offers position flexibility. Winkler is a big part of the future. OBP guys are too important, especially for a team with 5 guys at 110 K’s or more including their current lead-off guy. We need to see more of Ervin. Senzel should be up sometime next season for sure. Peraza should come around.

  27. Mjc

    Duvall robs Rizzo with great catch to start 1st inning.this guy is a very good outfielder

  28. Seadog

    Trade all 3 why not? What is the downside? This team continues to lose. Listen to any interest in all 3. Pitching/Defense wins games. This team is pitching/pitching/pitching/pitching.

  29. Jim Delaney

    I would consider trading Billy Hamilton and Peraza to San Francisco for SS Brandon Crawford and Sam Dyson. You acquire a very good defensive SS, with some power who might put up a lot better offensive numbers being out of SF and having 81 games at Great American Small Park. Dyson gives you a nice 8th inning reliever to setup for Ilglesias…. SF needs to add youth and speed to there roster….