Virginia Military Institute has had a solid college baseball program at times, but if Twins right-handed pitching prospect Josh Winder makes it up to the big leagues, he will become just the third player in school history to do so. The most recent, pitcher Reed Garrett, pitched in 13 games for the 2019 Detroit Tigers. He has spent the past two seasons pitching in Japan.
Winder was the Twins seventh-round draft pick in 2018. He went 3-1 with a 3.72 ERA in nine starts for Elizabethton that summer. In 2019, he moved up to Cedar Rapids, and while several of his teammates were promoted to Ft. Myers, Winder spent the whole season in Iowa. In 21 starts, he went 7-2 with a 2.65 ERA in 125 2/3 innings.
Then came 2020. The pandemic. A lost season.
However, it is clear that Winder took advantage of his time. When he reported to Instructional League, coaches took notice. Ramon Borrego, who would be his 2021 manager in Wichita, was in Ft. Myers for Instructs. This spring when asked about Winder he said, "The first impression that he gave me... they (the organization's reports) say he throws a slider and a fastball 90-93. When I saw him throwing to the mound and he was hitting 97-98, I was like "Oh my god!" Really good frame, strong guy, really hard working. I remember talking to Alex Hassan and saying 'This guy can be really good!' He's a really good competitor and has a very good slider."
Those quotes came after he made just one start in Wichita. He went 3-0 with a 1.98 ERA over ten starts with the Wind Surge. In 54 2/3 innings, he walked just 10 and struck out 65 batters. He was promoted to Triple-A St. Paul and started with six no-hit innings in his first outing. He represented the Twins in the Futures Game in Denver, pitching for manager LaTroy Hawkins. Unfortunately, just four starts into his stint with the Saints, he was shut down with some shoulder tightness, ending his season.
He rehabbed in Ft. Myers and is now back home for his offseason. We'll find out what else he is up to and how he feels about his season, about his progress, and his goals as he looks forward to the 2022 season. And later this month, he's a lock to be added to the Twins 40-man roster.
Join us as we go live at 12:00 pm central time. You can participate by sending your questions. We'll cover a ton of topics over about 20-25 minutes.
Please watch LIVE today at 12:00 pm (central time) on the Twins Daily Twitter, Facebook or YouTube pages live. You can even ask questions in the comments below or on those platforms during the show and we'll ask them.