Red Sox pitching prospect Josh Winckowski will make his major-league debut and start Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles at Fenway Park.
Winckowski, who is already in Boston and has a locker in the Red Sox’ clubhouse, told reporters (including The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey) that he received word of the team’s decision on Friday and will have eight or nine people on-hand to watch his debut in-person.
The 23-year-old right-hander has made seven starts for Triple-A Worcester this season, posting a 3.13 ERA and 2.80 FIP to go along with 34 strikeouts to six walks over 31 2/3 innings of work. His last outing for the WooSox came on Sunday, so he is lined up to pitch on regular rest this weekend.
Among International League pitchers who have at least 30 innings under their belt to this point in the year, Winckowski ranks ninth in strikeout rate (27.9%), eighth in swinging strike rate (13.6%) sixth in walk rate (4.9%), fifth in batting average against (.183), first in WHIP (0.85), 13th in ERA, second in FIP, and second in xFIP (3.11), per FanGraphs.
Originally selected by the Blue Jays in the 15th round of the 2016 amateur draft out of Estero High School, Winckowski was dealt to the Mets in the same trade that sent left-hander Steven Matz to Toronto last January. Less than two weeks later, the Florida native was involved in a three-team trade that sent him to the Red Sox and outfielder Andrew Benintendi to the Royals.
Now in his second full year with the Sox, Winckowski is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 12 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks sixth among pitchers in the organization. The 6-foot-4, 215 pound hurler works with a three-pitch mix that consists of a high-90s fastball, a changeup, and a slider. He projects as either a back-end starter or reliever in the future.
Winckowski, who was added to Boston’s 40-man roster last November, is slated to become the first Red Sox player to make their big-league debut this season.
Fellow righty Nathan Eovaldi is expected to get the start in the first game on Saturday afternoon (12:10 p.m. eastern time). Winckowski would then get the starting nod for the night cap (6:10 p.m. ET), likely serving as the Sox’ 27th man by doing so.
(Picture of Josh Winckowski: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)