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UConn catcher Pat Winkel selected in the ninth round of MLB Draft by Minnesota Twins

Winkel was previously selected in the 31st round in 2018 by the New York Yankees.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn baseball catcher Pat Winkel has been selected for the second time in the MLB Draft, going in the ninth round to Minnesota. Winkel was previously picked in the 31st round out of Amity Regional High School by the New York Yankees. The recommended signing bonus for this pick is $150,500.

He will join Anthony Prato in the Twins organization, who was selected in the seventh round in 2019.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound backstop had a bright freshman season in Storrs, with a slash line of .318 AVG/.361 OBP/.486 SLG in 49 games, leading a team that nearly won the Oklahoma City Regional in slugging percentage and home runs. He was a Second Team All-Region selection by the ABCA and made the All-Tournament team in Oklahoma City.

Winkel missed the 2020 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, but came back strong in 2021 while handling the pitching staff all on his own.

The Orange, Connecticut native was the only UConn player to start, as well as appear, in all 53 contests in which the Huskies played this season, slashing .284/.357/.525. Winkel was tied with his brother Chris for third on the team in home runs, two behind Reggie Crawford. He was also tied for second in doubles and was third in total bases and RBI in UConn’s high-powered 2021 offense. He was on ABCA’s All-Region first team and earned Big EAST second-team honors, as well.

Winkel has three tools graded at 50, which translates to average on the 20-80 scouting scale, including his power, arm and fielding. He’s a solid defender behind the plate and should stick as a backstop, which gives him more leeway with his bat as he tries to break into the major leagues, as catchers are relied upon the least for offense and provide most of their value defensively.

While he has average power, he has below-average contact skills and struggles against breaking balls, which leaves some scouts questioning whether he can tap into his power at the professional level.

Winkel, a redshirt sophomore, could return to UConn for up to two more seasons, should he choose not to sign a professional contract. He is currently playing for the Harwich Mariners in the Cape Cod League.