Thinking about Winningham reminds me of an interaction I had with a co-writer before the 2014 draft. The writer asked me if I knew anything about the draft. I said yeah. He asked if when players get told by scouts about interest, and that the Mets were interested in someone he knew, does that actually translate into them being drafted. I said “of course, who is this guy?” Turns out to be Winningham, a first baseman with a lot of power.
(Photo by MILB.com)
L/L, 6’2″ 225 lbs, 10/11/1995 (21), Drafted in the 8th round of the 2014 draft out of Trinity Catholic HS, Ocala, FL
It’s not because of the name that Dash Winningham is one of those boom or bust types. No, it’s his abilty, the power specifically. Drafted in the eighth round, the Mets believed that too, and knew he had a bit of development to do. He was first sent to Complex-Level Rookie League Gulf Coast after signing and hitting .231/.322/.391. He showed a bit of pop with 16 extra base hits in 52 games, but had a tough debut while playing rookie ball.
The next year he was a force in the middle of the order for 66 games at advanced Rookie League Kingsport. He hit for a lot of power, with 32 extra base hits including 12 homers, which tied for first for the lead in the Appalachian League with 22 year old Allen Valerio (who was released after that season) and led the league in RBI’s. This gave the Mets confidence in Dash and sent him to full-season ball.
This past season with the inaugural Columbia Fireflies, Winningham struggled. Winningham had a .234/.284/.387 line in 125 games, but tied his career high in homers, and hit 45 extra base hits. However, he didn’t get on base much, and walked at a rate of 5.8%. His strikeouts were relatively under control at 21.4%.
Noticed a main theme with Dash? It’s power and he has a lot of it. With a longish swing from the left side and average bat speed, he can tap into a bit of his 70 raw power, and he has some feel for contact, and doesn’t strike out at a crazy amount. He does need a bit of work to be able to hit more, mechanically speaking. His other issue is his inability to draw walks, which is a worry for a powerful first baseman who hasn’t hit much for average. With a first baseman such as Winningham that can hit for power, he needs to at least have value with a .350+ On Base Percentage, which he hasn’t been able to provide, and that’s a hard ceiling to justify.
As a first baseman, he’s only going to stick there, and it isn’t great, but there’s potential for an average defender. His hands aren’t great, but his range is okay. His arm is above-average, and he was a pitcher in high school. He is a below-average runner.
His ceiling hinges on his ability to connect and get on base. He has some serious raw power to look into, and it has shown in-game, but not consistently due to the issues with contact. Currently, the projection is that the Mets will have him repeat in A-Ball Columbia with 2016 2nd Round Pick Peter Alonso skipping over him to Hi-A St. Lucie.
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