Third up in the series is pitching prospect Kyle Winters. He was drafted in the 5th round of the pitching-heaving 2005 Amateur Draft, the 8th pitcher taken by the Marlins. A prep prospect, he wouldn’t reach full season ball until 2007.
Going into the 2008 season, he was rated just 21st by Baseball America. Sickels, on the other hand, was very aggressive, rating him the 11th best prospect in a very deep Marlins system. Sickels called him a major sleeper due to his projectability. After a poor Jupiter showing in 2008, where he had just a 65/50 K/BB, he would be left of Sickels list all together, noting his very small strike out rates.
Winters bounced back in 2009. Repeating Jupiter, he made 5 starts, posting a 0.87 ERA and a 3.75 K/BB. He was called up to Jacksonville soon after, but only made 7 starts before being placed on the DL with an arm injury in mid-June. What exactly the injury was seems to be undocumented, outside of the fact that he was in a sling. The Marlins wanted to send him to the AFL this offseason, but he was not healthy enough to participate. Eligible for the Rule V Draft, he was left unprotected by the Marlins and was not picked.
The hope now for Winters is that he can develop into the same kind of pitcher as the Minnesota Twins‘ Nick Blackburn and or the Baltimore Orioles‘ Brad Bergesen: a strong GB rate, with minuscule BB and K rates. Take a look at how their peripherals from full-season pro ball match up:
The BB/9 obviously sticks out from the group. This is mostly thanks to the massive 4.1 BB/9 he put up in Jupiter in 2008. That really isn’t very indicative towards his true talent level (His BB/9 outside of that year is 1.87), and he should sit at the sub-2 that he’s accustomed to going forward.
He also doesn’t have anywhere near the platoon split as Dallas Trahern does. In fact, he has nearly been as effective against LHB as he has against RHB:
Now part of the reason has has been as effective against LHB is that he has a lower rate of giving up HRs and a lower BABIP (both of which seem unlikely to continue going forward), but he’s still nearly as effective against lefties as he is righties.
Overall though, Winters stock is not very high. And it says a lot about the Marlins system that he is probably the top SP prospect in the upper minors (Unless Tucker sticks at SP). He’ll only just be 23 next season though, so he still has time to work on things and will hopefully bounce back from injury well next season.