As Salt River's leadoff hitter on Thursday, Cardinals shortstop prospect Masyn Winn did something he hadn’t done since the start of the Arizona Fall League.
The speedy 20-year-old who has gotten on base at a .407 clip through his first 20 games doubled for the first time since the prospects league began in early October. Winn’s RBI double was his second extra-base hit in the fall league — the other being a home run — and was a part of his two-for-four game against Glendale that included a single.
To go with his .407 OBP, Winn is batting .294 and has nine stolen bases for Salt River.
He was one of four prospects to play on Thursday. Here’s how they did:
Right fielder Jordan Walker: Walker singed and struck out in four at-bats batting from the three spot for the Rafters. The single from the 20-year-old was a line drive up the middle against 24-year-old Brewers prospect Russell Smith. Walker is batting .286 with a .925 OPS in 77 at-bats.
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Right-handed pitcher TInk Hence: On the mound for the first time since he faced teammate Walker during Sunday’s Fall Stars Game, Hence allowed one run in an inning of work and struck out one batter. Hence entered with no outs in the seventh inning and runners on first and second. He hit the first batter he faced then allowed an RBI double in the next at-bat. That run was charged to Rockies prospect Blair Calvo, who began the inning and could not record an out after facing four batters.
Following the RBI double, Hence retired three Reds prospects to end the inning. The 20-year-old Cardinals prospect set down Matt McClain looking on three pitches, gave up a sacrifice fly to Noelvi Marte, and finished the frame with a groundout against Rece Hinds.
In 8 1/3 innings during the AFL, Hence has a 2.16 ERA with nine strikeouts and four walks.
Center fielder Mike Antico: Wedged between Winn and Walker at the top of Salt River’s lineup, Antico went zero-for-three with two strikeouts. He was caught stealing in the fifth inning after he reached base on a hit-by-pitch. The failed attempt makes him eight-for-10 in 23 games. He is batting .200 in 40 at-bats.
Palm Beach pitchers recognized
Hence and right-hander Andrew Marrero were honored on Thursday as a pair of the top performing pitchers in the Florida State League this past season.
Hence was named the league’s prospect of the year and starter of the year. He sported a 1.38 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP in 52 1/3 innings with Class Low-A Palm Beach. He fanned 81 batters and limited hitters to a .174 batting average in his 16 starts. The former 63rd overall pick from the 2020 MLB draft had the highest left-on-base percentage (83.3%) and the fifth highest strikeouts per nine innings (13.93) among pitchers who tossed a minimum of 50 innings, according to FanGraphs.
Marrero — a 22-year-old who was taken in the 21st round by the Cardinals in the 2021 MLB draft — was the FSL’s reliever of the year. Marrero had a 1.27 ERA in 35 1/3 relief innings and struck out 55 batters. His 37.7% strikeout rate was second best for Palm Beach pitchers behind Hence’s 41.5%.
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