Cardinals' Winn flashes power, speed in Fall League

October 19th, 2022

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Masyn Winn wanted everyone to be sure that he’s much more than just a big arm on Tuesday night.

Sure, the Cardinals’ No. 2 prospect (No. 51 on the Top 100) is famous for his Futures Game throw that lit up Statcast at 100.5 mph. But in the Salt River Rafters’ 9-1 win over the Scottsdale Scorpions at Salt River Field, he was an analytics darling in a number of other ways while going 2-for-4 to raise his batting average to .360.

It started in the bottom of the third when the shortstop crushed a 2-2 offering from Braves starter Allan Winans out to left for his first home run of the Arizona Fall League. While it didn’t set any records, it did come off his bat at 95.3 mph and gave the Rafters a 1-0 lead.

“I hit a little bit more bombs this year than I did last year,” said Winn, who hit 12 homers in 2022 compared to five in 2021. “I wanted to come out here and get a few so I’m glad I got that monkey off the back. I was happy to get a run up on the board.”

It also brought him to within a homer of his organization-mate and friend Jordan Walker’s two. And there’s no question about whether he wants to catch him.

“I hope so, but I do then we have some problems,” Winn said. “If I catch him in bombs, we have some problems.”

Winn also showed off his easily plus speed on a number of occasions. On both his first-inning single and in the seventh when he forced Braves shortstop Cal Conley into a throwing error, he recorded elite-level (30.0 ft/second) sprint speeds from home to first (“Let’s go!” is how Winn responded when he heard the time.). He also stole a base in the opening inning. Winn is coming off a season that saw him steal 43 bags and he knows his wheels can always help him on both sides of the ball, even if he’s not swinging the bat well.

“Plays like that, you have to make the defense rush,” Winn said. “That’s a big thing for me, especially me not being a bigger guy. Me taking bags, trying to take an extra bag and trying to hustle out an infield single, that’s going to be huge for my game. Making plays on defense, I think my game revolves around my speed for sure.

“There’s a saying that speed never slumps and I really do agree with that. There’s been so many times this year where I’ve been slumping. I smash one into the ground and run it out and that’s my hit for the day. It’s a huge emphasis of my game.”

He even drew a walk to show off his discipline and now has 11 walks against just four strikeouts, giving him even more opportunities to use that speed. The only aspect of his game he didn’t showcase was that arm, as there really wasn’t a need for him to let one rip from shortstop.

That doesn’t mean he doesn’t always want to use his arm, and not just from the infield dirt. Winn was an accomplished pitcher in high school and was initially drafted as a potential two-way player by the Cardinals. He’s only pitched once, in 2021, and thrown some bullpens, but he isn’t quite ready to put that part of his game aside permanently. And when Salt River’s pitching staff was struggling over the first week or so of the Fall League, there definitely were times when he wanted to help out and take an inning.

“Of course, I want to pitch every day,” Winn said. “I mention it to Jordan a lot. One of our catchers is here, Pedro Pages. He was one of the three guys who got to catch a pen last year. We talk about it a good amount. Not necessarily because of how they were performing, but that’s the competitor in me. I always want to step on there.

“I think when I’m comfortably in The Show, that’ll be it. Until then, it’s always going to be in the back of my mind.”

The AFL is a developmental league first and foremost, with less of an emphasis on the competition. But these are all professionals with pride who can’t help but want to win. The 0-8 start the Rafters had clearly didn’t set well with Winn and his teammates and it’s important to them that they’ve turned it around and gone 5-1 since that rough beginning.

“I really think everyone had their nerves under them,” Winn said. “Everybody got a week under their belts, week and a half or so, and kind of started to settle down a little bit. You see these pitchers going out there and they’re real comfortable, going to work on the mound for us. That, in turn, turns over to the offense and makes us want to score for them. I think we all just clicked around the same time.”