Draft Spotlight: RHP Cole Winn

Les Lukach and Steve Doherty
PBR California Scouting Staff

Few people in high school baseball circles around Southern California knew of much less had seen Cole Winn before he moved to the area for his senior year. Most people that knew of him were in the travel ball scene where Winn was a mainstay last summer en route to earning an invitation to the Under Armour All-American Game. After an outstanding showing at the Area Code Games in Long Beach, Ca., Winn, a Colorado native, surprised everybody and announced he was making the move west to Southern California to play for the Orange Lutheran Lancers in the Trinity League.

Winn, the PBR Colorado State Player of the Year in 2017, immediately became the ace of a loaded pitching staff and vaulted himself to the top of the draft board in terms of SoCal prospects. After a fall in which many scouts were getting familiar with him, Winn embarked on one of the best seasons a pitcher in the Orange County area has had in a long time.

Winn finished the season at 8-2 with a 0.21 ERA with 114 strikeouts and 11 walks while allowing opponents to hit a meager .113 against him. In his two losses - one to Huntington Beach, one to St. John Bosco - Winn allowed the only two earned runs he'd give up all season. At one point Winn had a streak of 38 scoreless innings and six straight wins. For good measure Winn also hit for the Lancers finishing the season with a .291 BA, 10 doubles, two triples, three home runs, and 38 runs batted in.

But his future is clearly on the mound.

Winn features a fastball that touched 96 this season with a wipeout slider (83-85), a hammer curveball (76-79) and good for a changeup at 81-83 mph that he rarely throws. It's his ability to command, locate, and throw those pitches in any count that brought the scouts out in droves this season. At one point late in the year, there were six scouting directors and two general managers in stands at his outing. His pitchability and his upside are tremendous. Most scouts I've talked to believe there's more in the tank for Winn and it's hard to argue when you consider his top fastballs early in the season were 92-93 he showed the in-season gains that make him such a prized prospect.

Winn checks multiple boxes to prove the argument of whether or not he's a high first rounder.

Athletic: check. You can see it in his repeatable delivery, and consistent clean mechanics, he'll be able to make the adjustments required to pitch in professional baseball. Because of his athleticism, he can apply those slight modifications and gets outs. I always pay attention diligently when pitchers are coined "athletic"; watching him hit and move around defensively is always a good indicator. This kid can hit and move well as a defender period. Winn was a huge contributor for the OLU Lancers this year with 24 RBI's, and hit 3 HR's. Word is, he's close to being a scratch golfer as well, just saying.

Durable: check. Winn is physically mature. Yes, there is room for added strength, but he has the attributes of a workhorse that can go deep into ball games, and pitch 200 innings a year if he can maintain his health.

Front line starter stuff: check. Winn features 3 plus pitches with a developing 4th. FB was firm all year with little to no variation in velocity. He was 92-95 touching 96 & 97 at times. CB & SL were major league with bite and tilt. Winn threw change-ups this season, but not a lot of them because he didn't have to. He would have been doing the hitters a favor, giving them a better chance to put the bat on the ball. For all the times we saw him this year he might have thrown 15 change-ups. It has respectable deception and fade action at 81-83.

Pitchability: check. Winn can throw any pitch at any time for a strike and he has conviction with each offering.

Command: check. He can locate every pitch in his arsenal. He ran into a little trouble a few times in the first inning not pinpointing his command as it appeared he was rushing. He always seemed to maintain his composure and settle in quickly.

Poise/body language: check. Winn was always in control of his emotions and seemed to flush out adversity with a solid pre-pitch routine on the mound. He just looks like a MLB pitcher right now, it's impressive.

Feel & instincts: check. Winn always knew what pitch he wanted to throw and had the freedom to shake to any pitch he wanted, which is uncommon in HS/College baseball today. Goes to show how much trust head coach Eric Borba and the staff had in Winn.

The video compilation below shows many of his 114 strikeouts this season. What you'll notice is he uses all of his pitches as putaway pitches showing the confidence and ability to throw any pitch in any count.

Let's take a closer look at Cole Winn. 

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