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Persistence, Perspective Power Randy Wynne’s Journey 

Randy Wynne is having his best professional season to date, pitching to the tune of a 1.30 ERA in 27.2 innings. (Cam Anderson/Louisville Bats)
June 12, 2024

From making his professional debut in an independent league in 2016, to debuting in the Majors for the Cincinnati Reds seven years later, and now to being in the midst of his best professional season to date, Randy Wynne’s journey has been nothing short of unique. Wynne began the 2024

From making his professional debut in an independent league in 2016, to debuting in the Majors for the Cincinnati Reds seven years later, and now to being in the midst of his best professional season to date, Randy Wynne’s journey has been nothing short of unique.

Wynne began the 2024 season with 19.0 scoreless innings across eight appearances (four starts), the longest scoreless innings streak in the International League this year, and has been a steady presence for the Louisville Bats pitching staff. Wynne credits the development of his cutter and a different approach with his catchers to his fantastic campaign thus far.

“Going back to last year, I started throwing a cutter but it wasn’t very good. Half the time I backed it up, half the time I yanked it. This year, I’ve finally found a decent cutter to both sides of the plate. That has really opened up my game a bit,” Wynne said. “I’ve also changed how I talk to my catchers, how to get them on the same page as me, and having Michael Trautwein and Austin Wynns and all the guys back there, it’s been helping a lot.”

Wynne opened the season in the bullpen, joined the rotation for four starts, then transitioned back to the pen in recent weeks. The right-hander is familiar and comfortable with the back-and-forth situation, and that shows in his 1.30 ERA across 27.2 innings this season.

“I’ve always done both, all the way through college and even in high school. Pretty much every step of the way I’ve been some sort of long relief and a starter, so I’m used to it at this point,” Wynne said. “As far as a preference, I’d say I prefer starting just because it’s more scheduled and I get more time to study the lineup and know what to do, but there’s something about the bullpen call, getting that rush, and just going in there and doing my thing.”

Wynne's scoreless streak of 19.0 innings to begin the season is the longest in the International League in 2024.Cam Anderson/Louisville Bats

Wynne has had a roller coaster ride to get where he is today. Originally from San Diego, California, he spent his collegiate years playing for Grossmont College, a junior college in El Cajon, California, and Missouri Baptist University, an NAIA school in St. Louis, Missouri.

After not being selected in the 2015 Major League Baseball draft, Wynne made his professional debut with the Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers of the United Shore Professional Baseball League and spent both 2016 and 2017 with the club. He then signed with the Evansville Otters of the independent Frontier League, and after spending 2018 with the Otters, Wynne signed a minor league contract with the Cincinnati Reds in June 2019.

With a path like his comes uncertainty, but Wynne’s perspective and appreciation for what he gets to call a career always kept him going.

“First, my independent ball years were great. I was just happy to have someone handing me a check to play baseball. I thought that was the coolest thing ever, and I still haven’t wiped that smile off my face,” he said. “I was also excited to be a ballplayer, to really own that and start to understand what it meant to have it be a job. I was surrounded by a lot of great people, and I’ve been really lucky to have incredible baseball people on my journey, so I just tried to soak up everything I could during those years.”

“I definitely had some doubts along the way. There were a couple of times where I was wondering when the end was, but I had always felt like I had thrown the ball well and dominated. I always wanted that next step, and when things started to line up, I just tried to take advantage of opportunities,” Wynne said. “I think I’ve always been good at trying to learn. Every level has rough patches, but continuing to learn as I go keeps it fresh. There’s always something to grab at and reach for.”

Wynne made his Major League debut last season for the Cincinnati Reds against the potent lineup of the Atlanta Braves.Anna Rouch/Louisville Bats

A major highlight of his career is his 17-strikeout performance for the Greeneville Reds in 2019, a performance in which Wynne said he could throw the ball on the corners whenever and wherever he desired.

“I think the first inning was immaculate, and I believe I had four strikeouts in the seventh [after a dropped third strike where the hitter reached first]. I only had four pitches back then, I have six now, but I felt like I had all four to black if I wanted wherever I wanted,” he said. “It’s funny, I had never played catch with the catcher before, and he calls that game and we do that together, so it was awesome. That zone is special, and it’s kind of what keeps me in pitching honestly.”

Last season, Wynne finally reached the goal he always dreamed about: making his Major League debut. Although a chaotic day, Wynne looks back fondly on that memory and the potent Atlanta Braves offense he had to face.

“It was incredible. The nerves were as expected, but I tried to turn it into energy and excitement. I wasn’t even sure I was getting into that game because I had shown up to the ballpark pretty late. I got the call late Saturday night while we were on the road in Charlotte, and the Reds were playing a Sunday day game in Cincinnati. By the time I had flown in and actually arrived at the ballpark, it was probably 12:30 or so for a 1:40 start. It was kind of a scramble, like I didn’t get any warmups or anything. I got situated, got a uniform, got fitted, and then got out there for the anthem,” Wynne said. “So I didn’t think I was getting into that game, and I didn’t know really what they had planned for me.”

“But the starter got into some trouble in the third inning, they call my name first, and all the energy immediately comes. I’m throwing in the bullpen, and they’re telling me my first hitters are going to be Michael Harris, Ronald Acuña Jr., and Ozzie Albies, so that was pretty wild,” he said. “Stepping onto the field for the first time was an absolute dream come true. I felt like my whole body was vibrating and I couldn’t feel my feet hitting the ground. It was a packed house that day too. I’ll never forget it, and there aren’t really words to describe it.

Wynne’s gratitude for having the opportunity to play baseball as a career allows him to do so freely and with no regrets, and he’ll continue to reach new heights with that perspective in his back pocket.