There are very few pitchers with the ability to be major league closers. The San Diego Padres have a talented young pitcher in Trey Wingenter with the stuff and the attitude to be a reliable closer in the majors.
Trey Wingenter has all the ability in the world while playing the game of baseball.
His average fastball velocity is a tick over 97 mph. He combines that with a slider that averages high 80’s in terms of speed. When he is on, he is as unhittable as any pitcher in the league and is only getting better.
The relief pitcher has been used in a closer role for the majority of his time in the minor leagues. The Padres are full of capable relief options, and Wingenter might be the best of the bunch. He recorded his first save in the major leagues this year and loved the experience. “It was really cool,” Wingenter said. He spoke about the fact he was able to pitch in high-leverage situations since being drafted by the Padres. “It’s nice to be blessed enough to have thrown ninth innings throughout the minors,” Wingenter told EVT. The tall right-hander is proud of the fact the game is usually on the line when he is in the game.
At the time of the interview, Wingenter had yet to allow a base hit from a slider. “I did not know that. It might be because I am throwing a lot of them in the dirt. And that is tough to deal with. I try to get to the point where the pitch is playing off of my fastball. If those two pitches look the same out of my hand, then it’s going to be tough to handle both of them. I want them on the same plane, and I want them to look similar,” Wingenter explained. He is conscious of planes and angles but admits not to be into the Rapsodo revolution. He utilizes the machines, but the info is not all he digests when trying to accomplish his goals.
Wingenter is six-foot-seven, and with large pitchers, mechanics can be an issue. “That is the number one thing for me being a taller pitcher. When I get out of sync, and it happens a ton, I need to get back on it quick.” Wingenter said. He utilizes a lot of outside information when tuning his craft. “I need to stay on my video work and get feedback every day from Bals (Darren Balsley) and (Doug) Bochtler.”
There is no lack of confidence with this young pitcher. “When I feel the best, it feels like nobody can hit me. You aren’t going to be on every time, so I need to learn how to tweak my mechanics when I need to,” Wingenter said. He understands that adapting and throwing strikes is key for him. “It is tough to get the best hitters out in the world when you are fighting yourself,” Wingenter admitted. There is work for him to do, but he understands what is needed and that is half the battle.
Sometimes the game can speed up on you. There are times when errors happen behind you and frustration sets in. We spoke about how the tall pitcher calms himself while toeing the rubber. “The main key is that once you release the ball, you have no more control over what happens. You do everything you can to prepare for that pitch. You trust your routine, and you have to do it again no matter what happens,” Wingenter said. He is very realistic with his thought process, and that helps him say focused. He can close because of this. You need to have thick skin to be a major league closer, and Wingenter is blessed with that.
Preparation is also crucial for Wingenter as he devours information about the other team. “We sit down and go over how they (other teams) are swinging the bat recently. We go through the lineup and see how each guy matches up personally. I look at how similar pitches are doing against their hitters,” Wingenter said. He mainly looks at statistics against pitchers that are hard throwers like himself. At 25, Wingenter has a very bright future. You have to admire the fact he is more than a thrower. The pitcher has a desire to get better, and there could be more save opportunities in his future.