When the Mariners announced that they had traded for Jesse Winker, most MAriners fans were incredibly excited. A big-time power hitter who could crush RHP. Someone who could provide a legitimately dangerous bat for the heart of the order. That was short-lived, as Winker turned in a disappointing April.
How bad was it? Well, if you take a look at his splits… it’s going to make you sad. He was .169/.326/.197 in April, with zero homers in 71 ABs. He wasn’t striking out, but that’s because he wasn’t really doing anything besides walking. Maybe it was playing with a new team. Maybe it was the cold weather. He was struggling, and it was hurting the Mariners offense.
Jesse Winker turned that around once the Mariners got to May, and has been hitting much better.
Ever since the month changed, he has been a completely different hitter. He was unlucky with a couple of blasts he almost hit in April, getting knocked down by strong winds. He has finally been hitting some out and has two homers on the year. That goes along with a May slash line of .296/.333/.481. He also has four doubles and is making more consistent, and stronger, contact.
There is a big chance that the reason he was struggling to hit was that he was actually being too patient at the plate. That all the walks he was talking were actually affecting his normal rhythm and made it harder for him to get a feel early in the season. He was one of the league leaders in walks for the month of April but only has three through 54 ABs so far in May as they head to Toronto.
If Winker truly is getting back to his Cincinnati self, it’s going to be incredible for the Mariners. He was one of the best in baseball at hitting RHPs last year, and that could be a wonderful boon for the team. Just take a look at the Mets series. Although they didn’t score much in the opener, they put up a total of 14 runs, 29 hits, three HRs, four 2Bs, and 10 BBs. That was good for a team slash line of .282/.364/.408.
If the Mariners are going to make a push this year, getting back into the playoff picture as temperatures warm up, the Winkers bat warming up is going to need to happen as well. So far, throughout the month of May, it looks like it is starting to do exactly that.