Two UConn baseball players with their eyes set on the big leagues will take part in the first-ever MLB Combine, MLB.com announced on Wednesday. Starting pitcher Ben Casparius and his battery-mate Patrick Winkel will attend the event, which is taking place this week in North Carolina.
Working much like similar events in the NFL and the NBA, the MLB combine will “ provide an opportunity for players to participate in a series of medical and performance assessments as well as educational programming designed to prepare them for a career in professional baseball,” according to MLB.com.
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The showcase section of the combine will take place on Thursday and Friday in front of numerous MLB scouts, and players will meet with front office personnel and scouts all weekend.
Casparius has been on the radar for MLB scouts since before he even threw a pitch for the Huskies. He has been consistently projected to be taken in the early rounds, and scouts are a big fan of his bat-missing slider and above average changeup.
Patrick Winkel was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 26th round of the 2018 draft, but chose to attend UConn and to play with his brother, Chris.
The younger Winkel brother made the All-Big East second team in 2021, batting .284/.357/.525 with 11 home runs. Left-handed catchers who can hit and are good defensively will always get a look-in at the major league level, and his stock will have only risen after three years of solid performance since he was first drafted.
The MLB draft combine will be televised on Friday at 1 p.m. on the MLB Network, and the MLB Draft is set to begin on Sunday, July 11.