Slender, tall frame without much muscle development in his upper half; lower half has some mass through the butt/thighs; could hold a bit more weight up top without impeding his overall game.
Pensacola Blue Wahoos (AA, Reds)
High baseball IQ; work ethic is unquestioned; has the type of makeup to struggle in an age-advanced league and become a better player for it.
50; major-league regular
Mechanics: Loose, handsy stroke; swing looks effortless from the outset; preternatural feel for the barrel; above-average bat speed with very quick hands/hips; feet begin slightly wider than shoulders; big leg pump to load rear quad; lower half can drift slightly during stride; lands open with energy directed to the pull side; hands begin high and hitter loads them fairly deep, barring his lead arm; flattens hands at back shoulder; slight bit of loop on the back side with a slight bit of bat drag; barrel control suffers a bit as a result, causing him to fall under hittable pitches on occasion; extends well out front; leans back at contact with stiff front leg for increased leverage; high, one-handed finish. Winker has a lot of things going in the right direction at the plate, but the slight length in the load accompanied by the tendency to fly open with the front side in an attempt to stay short to the ball on the inner half presents problems when trying to consistently cover the outer half of the plate. Otherwise, the feel for the barrel is very impressive. There is room for Winker to grow into a .280-plus hitter annually with the proper adjustments.
Approach: Winker has an outstanding knowledge of the zone, but his mechanics leave him a bit susceptible to arm-side breaking balls on the outer half and pitches above the hands due to a tendency to trigger early; shows a willingness to go to the opposite field but his direction of energy at the plate leaves him more suited to the pull-side for hard contact; likes to attack fastballs early in the count if they are in his zone; shows an ability to lay off pitches at the fringes early in at-bats. Despite the aforementioned room for exploitation, Winker flashes great patience and the type of approach to rack up high on-base percentages at the highest level.
Above-average raw power; good lift in stroke; good front-side leverage; thrusts hips very well and finishes on his back toe; shows the ability to pull the hands in and sting balls on the inner half; has a keen sense for the barrel that results in hard contact; above-average/plus pop-up times (6.2-6.4 seconds); has the type of hit tool to allow the power to flow naturally; will rack up plenty of doubles to go along with above-average over-the-fence output.
Below-average runner; home-to-first times in the mid-to-high 4.4s; shows decent instincts on the base-paths but will never be a threat to steal; speed may diminish as he continues adding mass.
Tracks the ball decently in left field; shows good footwork to get around balls prior to throwing; not overly athletic but has the type of instincts and feel for the position to not be a liability; will become an average defender in time.
Left field arm strength; short arm action; throws exhibit big arm-side tail; two-hopped the catcher on a throw to the plate; fringy tool that will not impact the game at the highest level.
Winker's raw OFP averages to 50, but a half-grade bump is given due to player's excellent makeup and the potential for a plus hit tool, something that could override his weaknesses elsewhere in the tools department. While the mechanics at the plate have a few deficiencies, Winker possesses preternatural bat-to-ball ability with a loose, effortless stroke and should be able to tighten up his mechanics with time.
The ceiling, while not incredibly high, is that of a B.J. Surhoff-type hitter in his prime, one who can hit for a .280-plus average with home run totals in the high-teens/low-twenties with plenty of gap power. Despite the lack of plus tools across the board and the left-field profile, that's an above-average regular in today's game. He's only 20-years-old in the Southern League, and while he has struggled initially to adapt to the way pitchers are attacking him, I see Winker eventually adjusting and making his way to the majors at the end of the 2015 season.