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Masyn Winn Brought The Heat

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 16: Masyn Winn #1 of the St. Louis Cardinals fields the ball in the third inning during the 2022 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, July 16, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

Masyn Winn can pitch and play shortstop (which is cool), though the 20-year-old prospect for the Cardinals (which is much less cool) has almost exclusively played the field in minor-league ball. It’s likely he’ll make the majors as a position player, but that doesn’t mean he’s forgotten how to throw a four-seam fastball. Here he is in yesterday’s Futures Game, gunning out a plodding catcher with a totally unnecessary but righteous laser.

If you’re thinking of the Pirates’ Oneil Cruz setting a Statcast-era record for an infield throw, well, so was Winn.

Turning to teammate Masyn Winn, Jordan Walker issued a challenge. “You’ve got someone who throws harder than you now,” the slugger told Winn, a shortstop prospect. Later, when the pair earned selections to the Futures Game, Winn was resolved to set a new benchmark.

“I was just trying to go out there and hit 100,” the 20-year-old said.

Yes! Yes. I spent far too long not properly appreciating a frozen rope across the diamond the same way I might, say, a RF-to-3B putout. I am coming around. I love the sheer athleticism of the thing, but also the way the high heat might not be strictly required every time, and the open question of how the first baseman feels about being on the receiving end. I demand that shortstops turn this into an unofficial contest, firing the ball with little regard for anything but the radar gun; there’s netting down the lines now, what’s the worst that could happen? Put Hunter Greene in at short for an inning and let him cook.

Winn admitted he was looking to top Cruz, and once he did, he played the position a little more staidly.

“I gripped a good four-seam and let it eat there,” Winn said. “I knew something. I didn’t think it was going to be a hundred. I was thinking maybe upper nines. But I definitely felt good.”

[…]

“I tried to dial it back and get to normal,” he said. “But I wanted one at least, so I’m glad I got a groundball.”

If you didn’t get to see Winn’s throw live, don’t sweat it; neither did most people. The Futures Game streamed on a Saturday afternoon and was only available if you have Peacock Premium, because MLB is allergic to getting people excited about their cool young incoming players.