Red Sox’ Josh Winckowski named International League Pitcher of the Week

Red Sox pitching prospect Josh Winckowski has been named International League Pitcher of the Week for the week of June 6-12, Minor League Baseball announced on Monday.

Winckowski’s latest start for Triple-A Worcester came in the nightcap of a day-night doubleheader against the Buffalo Bisons at Sahlen Field last Wednesday. The right-hander scattered just three hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts over seven scoreless and dominant innings to lead the WooSox to a 9-0 win.

Since doubleheaders in the minor-leagues consist of two seven-inning contests, it is considered to be Winckowski’s first complete game of the season. The 23-year-old needed all of 74 pitches (51 strikes) to retire 19 of the 23 batters he faced.

In nine starts with Worcester this year, Winckowski has posted a 3.37 ERA and 2.68 FIP with 43 strikeouts to eight walks over 42 2/3 innings of work. Among International League pitchers who have already surpassed the 40-inning plateau, the righty ranks 14th in strikeouts per nine innings (9.07), sixth in walks per nine innings (1.69), 11th in strikeout rate (25.7%), seventh in walk rate (4.8%), 11th in swinging strike rate (12.7%), eighth in batting average against (.209), fourth in WHIP (0.96), 10th in ERA, second in FIP, and third in xFIP (3.25), per FanGraphs.

Winckowski, who turns 24 in a little over two weeks, made his major-league debut for the Red Sox at Fenway Park last month against the Orioles. While serving as the 27th man in a doubleheader, he gave up four runs in three innings in the second game of the twin bill on May 28. He was optioned back to Worcester shortly thereafter.

The Red Sox are currently down two starters after placing both Garrett Whitlock (right hip inflammation) and Nathan Eovaldi (low back inflammation) on the injured list over the weekend.

Nick Pivetta is slated to start Tuesday’s series opener against the Athletics back in Boston. But the Sox have yet to announce who will start the final two games of the three-game set.

As noted by SoxProspects.com’s Chris Hatfield, Winckowski appears to be a prime candidate to come up for one of those two games since the WooSox pushed his next start back to Thursday.

Winckowski would be on extended rest if he were to pitch for the Red Sox at some point this week, so he should probably be viewed as the top choice right now.

(Picture of Josh Winckowski: Katie Morrison/MassLive)

Red Sox’ Kyle Hart, Brayan Bello earn International League, Eastern League Pitcher of the Week honors

A pair of Red Sox minor-league pitchers have received weekly honors from the respective leagues they pitch in. On Monday, Triple-A Worcester left-hander Kyle Hart was named the International League’s Pitcher of the Week while Double-A Portland right-hander Brayan Bello was named the Eastern League’s Pitcher of the Week.

Hart made his second start and seventh overall appearance of the season for Worcester on the road against the Toledo Mud Hens on Saturday. The lefty did not give up a hit and scattered three walks to go along with a season-high eight strikeouts over six scoreless innings of work. 53 of the 81 pitches he threw went for strikes.

With the WooSox this year, Hart — who pitched in the majors in 2020 — has posted a 5.88 ERA and 5.83 FIP with 26 strikeouts to 15 walks across his seven outings that span a total of 26 innings pitched. The 29-year-old southpaw has put up these numbers while holding opposing left-handed hitters to a .237/.268/.500 slash line and opposing right-handed hitters to a .258/.390/.436 slash line against.

Bello, on the other hand, is four days removed from tossing a seven-inning no hitter against the Reading Fightin Phils in the night cap of a doubleheader at Hadlock Field on May 5.

Making his fifth start of the season for the Sea Dogs this past Thursday, Bello allowed one unearned run to score on three walks and five strikeouts in the process of recording the fifth no-hitter in team history. He finished the night having thrown 96 pitches — 55 of which went for strikes.

Through his first five starts of 2022, Bello has produced a 1.95 ERA and 3.37 FIP with 37 strikeouts to 11 walks over 27 2/3 innings pitched. Among qualified Eastern League pitchers, the Dominican-born righty ranks sixth in strikeout rate (34.3%), second in swinging strike rate (20.3%), 24th in walk rate (10.2%), third in batting average against (.134), fifth in WHIP (0.87), fifth in ERA, 10th in FIP, and fourth in xFIP (2.62), per FanGraphs.

Bello, who turns 23 next week, is the reigning Red Sox Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. Equipped with a high-octane fastball, the 6-foot-1, 170 pound hurler is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 5 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks first among pitchers in the organization.

(Picture of Kyle Hart: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)