Winkler pitched in 26-1/3 innings for the Drillers after he was called up from Colorado's High-A affiliate and went 1-2 with a 3.04 ERA. Before being called up, Winkler was an All-Star in the California League and one of the most efficient pitchers in any level of professional baseball.
He made 22 starts with the Modesto Nuts, compiling a 12-5 record with a 2.97 ERA, keeping his WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) below one at 0.928 and striking out 152 batters in 130.1 innings, a rate of 10.5 batters per nine innings.
He said he's looking forward to a better season next year, after being in awe of the experience for much of his time in Tulsa.
“I tell people that I felt like a professional baseball player for once,” Winkler said. “You walk into that stadium in Tulsa and down a tunnel. It's a big league tunnel. There's 10,000 to 15,000 fans there on a weekend.”
Before standing on the mound in Tulsa again, Winkler said he hopes he gets a chance to impress Colorado's front office at spring training in February.
No matter where he ends up – whether it's back in Tulsa, in the big leagues or with the Triple-A affiliate in Colorado Springs – the 20th round draft choice from Effingham will be working hard trying to turn that 15-year major league career into a reality.
Alex McNamee can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or firstname.lastname@example.org.