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2017 Mets draft profile: Matt Winaker

With their fifth selection in the 2017 draft, the Mets selected Matt Winaker, a first baseman from California.

Name: Matt Winaker
Born: Alamo, California
Age: 21 (1996)
Height/Weight: 6'1"/200 lbs
Position: 1B/OF
Bats/Throws: R/R
School: Stanford University

Attending San Ramon Valley High School, Matt Winaker stood out on the baseball diamond and on the gridiron. In 2013 and 2014 he was named an All-East Bay Athletic League member in baseball, and in 2014 was given the very same honor in football. Due to his athletic prowess in both sports, Winaker was named 2014 San Ramon Valley Athlete of the Year. The son of two Stanford alumni, it only made sense that Winaker attend Stanford himself, looking to receive a quality education while participating in a quality baseball program.

In 2015, his first year at Stanford, Winaker hit a solid .268/.383/.380 in 52 games for the Cardinal. His 31 walks led the team, while his 26 RBIs and 10 doubles were good enough for second, and his batting average and on-base percentage ranked third. Though a former football player with excellent foot speed, coach Mark Marquess elected to use the right-hander as a first baseman, owing to his history of favoring agile, sure-handed defenders at the corners.

In his second year at Stanford, Winaker experienced a sophomore slump and hit .254/.356/.360 in 54 games, a slight step in the wrong direction compared to his contributions the year before. There were bright spots in his season—his four triples and 28 walks led the Cardinal, and thanks to some excellent defensive play at first base, was named to the All-Pac-12 Defensive Team.

In his junior year, Winaker broke out, hitting .308/.432/.514 in 58 games. He struggled early on, but really heated up in March—from March 2 to April 2, he raised his batting average from .143 to .269. His power manifested in a way that it hadn’t in the past, slugging nine home runs.

Winaker has quiet, efficient swing mechanics. His swing utilizes a simple toe-tap timing mechanism, and keeps his body free of unnecessary movement from his load to his follow through. He has a smooth, level swing that gives balls some loft and allows him to drive pitches. Winaker is a strong frame, and only recently began adding power to his profile. He has demonstrated excellent pitch recognition and has a deep understanding of the strike zone, which makes him extremely selective at the plate. In all three years at Stanford he led the Cardinal in walks.

Though he has enough speed to play the outfield thanks to his athletic frame, Stanford generally has used Winaker at first base, where he has gotten rave defensive reviews. He should have the tools to play in the outfield, and will likely be used there by a professional team looking to maximize his defensive contributions.