Josh Winckowski Impressing Early On
The 24-year-old right-hander, acquired from the Royals in exchange for Andrew Benintendi in 2021, has primarily been used as a starter throughout his time in the minor leagues. However, the Red Sox decided to deploy him this season as a reliever, and the results thus far have been encouraging.
With six innings thrown across his three games and one run allowed, he has a 1.50 ERA and 0.83 WHIP while allowing just four hits, striking out six, and limiting opponents to a .174 average.
Josh Winckowski’s Profile
Josh Winckowski is tall (6’4) and athletic, which gives him the classic starter’s build. His fastball (reaches 98) and changeup have some swing-and-miss ability and are expected to be above average as he becomes more confident. He ultimately profiles as the back of the rotation arm if he can establish consistency in the slider. Without it, there is still more than enough to develop into a quality setup man in a major league bullpen.
Cora Shows Confidence
Winckowski can act as a multi-inning bridge to Boston’s high-leverage relievers like Jansen & Martin as he is stretched out and can handle to workload. In Tuesday’s loss to the Pirates, he pitched a season-high three innings.
Alex Cora said on his weekly appearance on “Gresh & Fauria” on WEEI Radio:
“I think he did an amazing job (against the Pirates); he did a good job earlier against Baltimore. His stuff is ticking up; he’s throwing 96, 97. This is a kid that last year he was caught up on the strikeouts, the swing, and misses, and he’s not doing that out of the bullpen. So he’s a good one; we really like him.”
Despite the team’s overall struggles early on, especially with starting pitching, Winckowski has provided stability and a much-needed spark in relief. Being able to eat innings and keep the Red Sox in games like Winckowski has is a huge asset, and it appears he’s settling nicely into that type of role. With guys like Whitlock, Bello, and Paxton soon to return, having another arm you can rely on during the summer will make you that much better.