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Josh Winckowski

From BR Bullpen

Joshua Michael Winckowski

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Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher Josh Winckowski was a 16th round selection by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2016 amateur draft, out of a high school in Florida. While born in Toledo, OH, he grew up in the Fort Myers, FL area and first attended unheralded Cypress Lake High School before transfering to Estero High School, an equally modest school in terms of developing baseball talent, from where he was drafted. He was in fact the first student from both schools to reach the big leagues.

Starting from these humble beginnings, he began his pro career in 2016 with the GCL Blue Jays, going 2-2, 4.61 in 5 games. 2017 was another modest season, as he again was 2-2, this time with an ERA of 5.33, in 12 games for the Bluefield Blue Jays of the Appalachian League. However, he began to show more results in his third season, with the Vancouver Canadians of the Northwest League in 2018, when he was 4-5 with a 2.78 ERA in 13 games. In addition to the solid ERA, his K/W ratio of 71/15 in 68 innings was also very promising.

In 2019, he got his first taste of full-season ball with the Lansing Lugnuts of the Midwest League, and a solid performance earned him a promotion to the Dunedin Blue Jays of the Florida State League after 13 starts. Overall, between the two stops, he was 10-8, 2.69 in 24 games (23 starts), with 127 1/3 innings, 108 strikeouts and 110 hits allowed. He was slated to begin 2020 in AA, but the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the minor league season, costing him a full year of development. On January 27, 2021, he was traded to the New York Mets along with fellow young pitchers Sean Reid-Foley and Yennsy Diaz in return for veteran starter Steven Matz. Of the four pitchers involved in the deal, he was the only one without major league experience. He did not stay in the Mets' system for long, however, as on February 10th, he was involved in another big trade, first being sent to the Kansas City Royals for OF Khalil Lee, and then being immediately flipped to the Boston Red Sox alongside OF Franchy Cordero and two players to be named later (one from each team) in return for OF Andrew Benintendi, who was considered a rising star only a couple of years earlier.

He made his major league debut as the starting pitcher for the Red Sox against the Baltimore Orioles in the second game of a doubleheader on May 28, 2022. He gave up 4 runs in 3 innings and was charged with a 4-2 loss. He started 14 of the 15 games in which he appeared that year, finishing at 5-7, 5.89 and logging 70 1/3 innings. In 2023, he moved to the bullpen and had a much better season, pitching 60 times with just 1 start, and going 4-4, 2.88 with 3 saves. He struck out 82 batters in 84 1/3 innings. During spring training in 2024, he almost had to take an unexpected pause when he was called up for jury duty by authorities in Lee County, FL, for which he was on the lists as a twelve-year resident of the Fort Myers, FL area. He was able to avoid service due to his profession, however, but would have accepted his civic duties if the call had come at a more convenient time. At the time, the Red Sox were looking to turn him back to a starter, in spite of his success as a reliever, as it was his preferred role and he has a five-pitch mix, something that can be a big asset when looking to work deep into games. He was one of four pitchers battling for the final two spots in the starting rotation, with those failing to claim the two coveted spots likely to work out of the bullpen.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Joe Trezza: "Jury duty calls? Winckowski nearly misses spring start: Red Sox righty is in the mix for a rotation spot", mlb.com, March 14, 2024. [1]

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