20. Kyle Winters -RHP - 6'4 - 190lbs
(last year: 25)
Drafted out of Pomona High School in the 5th round of the 2005 draft, Kyle Winters was taken in a very tough pitching class. He was the 7th pitcher taken by the Marlins in that draft and was signed for $166,000. Kyle doesn't get the pub that Chris Volstad and Co got, but he has quietly put up solid numbers three years running. In 2006 with Jamestown, he went 6-6 with a 2.45era and a .194baa in 88.1 innings. In 2007 with Greensboro, Kyle had a 3.95era, 1.12whip and a .245baa in 111.2 innings pitched. That 3.95era might as well be a full point lower as the South Atlantic League, and especially his home park (NewBridge Bank Park) are very hard places to pitch in. Lefties hit just .219 off him. The big key with Kyle is if he can keep the ball from leaving the park. He gave up 13 homeruns this season (as opposed to just 2 in Jamestown).
Jupiter was a big step for Winters this season. He held is own going 6-4 with a 3.68era and a .242baa in 110 innings of work. He kept lefties to a .250baa while righties hit just.238 off of him. If not for a June swoon where he gave up 17 earned runs in 21 innings, Winters’ numbers would be much more impressive.
Tall, slender and athletic, Winters has a similar build and delivery as Roy Halladay and Brandon McCarthy did at the same stage of their careers. He also has excellent makeup and is projectable. His arm works easy, his fastball tops out at 92 mph with the potential for more velocity and his breaking stuff is adequate. His velocity as well as the movement on his pitches should increase as his body fills out some more. He has an above average slurvy breaking ball, with an improving changeup. His pitching style has drawn a comparison to Marlins starter Josh Johnson.
Winters is certainly a guy to watch this year to see if he can take the next step in being the Marlins best pitching prospect. He’ll be in the tough Southern League with Jacksonville and should spend the entire season as their number 1 or 2 pitcher.