Josh Winckowski *, RHP, BOS

Rumor has it that Josh Winckowski will make his major league debut on Sunday, May 29 for a Red Sox double header. Just who is he? Glad you asked…

Video courtesy of FanGraphs
  • Born: June 28, 1998
  • B/T: Right/Right
  • 6’4″, 202-lbs
  • Drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2016 MLB June Amateur Draft from Estero H.S. (Estero, FL)

The Numbers

His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:

In 2019 he wasn’t striking guys out enough, and he walked a few too many.

In 2021 in Double-A he repeated it, but got hit around a bit more and his xFIP and WHIP got worse.

Then at the end of the 2021 season he went to Triple-A, and his strikeout rate jumped, while the walk rate held steady. Nice WHIP.

So far in 2022, whatever he did late in 2021 has held, except he finally got his walk rate into Excellent territory. Now with a combined 50 innings at Triple-A, are we seeing the real Winckowski?

This Splits table makes me laugh it’s so symmetrical. No, he has no splits. He’s done great against all batters this year.

So what changed in the last year or so?

Excerpt courtesy of FanGraphs

Aha! He’s throwing harder, up to 95-96 in the spring (and recent reports say he’s even gotten it to 98-99 at times). That makes his power slider/curve/whatever-you-call-it pitch that much more effective. If his changeup is more polished, it would explain why he is dominating Triple-A batters.

The Scouts

James Anderson just updated his Top 400 for Rotowire, and yes, Wincowski joined the list all the way up to #232.

Warnings

The scouts (even now) think he has a middle relief future.

Will his walk rate stay low? Encouragingly, his walk amounts by start this year are 1-3-0-0-1-1-0, so yes, he’s done great.

Will his changeup remain average?

Conclusion

He is rumored to get this call-up because other choices are hurt or pitched recently, and since Winckowski is not on the 40-man roster, but doesn’t have to be in order to be named a 27th-man for the double header, he can get this start and then go right back down. So even if he does well, let’s not get too excited.

With his new-found velocity, he is dominating Triple-A batters for now parts of two seasons. He hasn’t much more to prove down there. But without a 40-man spot, he’s stuck until that changes (or until he gets traded).

And if he doesn’t get traded, Boston has many other arms, some of whom are better prospects. But he will certainly get added to the 40-man this year, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back again later in 2022. By 2023 he’ll be knocking on some team’s starting rotation. The way he’s pitched this year, there should be a lot of teams who wouldn’t mind having him knock on their door.

If nothing else, he looks like a very solid middle reliever. I think he has a bit more with that new velocity.

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