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Reed, Winker take home AFL honors

Twins, Reds prospects earn Pitcher, Player of the Week awards
October 15, 2014

An extra season means a chance for some extra hardware, and for Jake Reed and Jesse Winker, it only took a week to nab a little something for the trophy case back home.

Reed, a 2014 fifth-round pick by Minnesota, shined as one of the league's freshest arms out of the bullpen and earned Pitcher of the Week, while Winkler, a Reds prospect ranked 40th on's Top 100 list, earned Player of the Week honors behind a .455 average and seven RBIs.

The right-handed Reed has been outstanding out of Salt River's bullpen, posting three scoreless innings with five strikeouts in his first week. The 22-year-old is light on pro experience compared to many of his competitors and teammates but did manage a 0.29 ERA over 31 innings split between Rookie-level Elizabethton and Class A Cedar Rapids this summer.

"So far, so good," Reed told "Two things I have noticed right away: You get to face good hitters every at-bat, and that's a challenge, and the fact that a lot of these guys have been up and down. They are older than me, so I can rely on their advice."

The Oregon product ranked No. 123 on's 2014 pre-Draft rankings. The site lauded the reliever's fastball, noting he can, "Crank it up into the mid-90s with plus life." Reed says he used the fastball heavily during his first pro season, but has had to rely more on his off-speed pitches so far in the AFL.

"In Rookie League and low A, you can throw a fastball pretty much at any time in any count, but at this level you have to throw different pitches, because all the guys here are looking fastball and that's what they want to hit,'' Reed said. "I have a good fastball, but I am working a lot on my breaking pitches.''

The 22-year-old picked up a win and a save in his first week, as well, and said pitching in save opportunities is a thrill he wouldn't want to give up by a potential move out of the bullpen.

"Forget starting. I can't tell you how much I love closing,'' Reed said. "Getting the ball in that situation, trying to get that last out, is one of the best feelings you can have.''

Winker, meanwhile, is one of the top prospects in the AFL this season, having built a reputation as a solid hitter since going 49th overall to Cincinnati in the 2012 Draft. The outfielder hit .287 with a .917 OPS in 74 games split between Class A Bakersfield and Double-A Pensacola this summer, and is off to an excellent start with Surprise in the AFL.

The 21-year-old told that playing in the Fall League "has been a great experience so far. You are playing against the different teams with new guys. You're meeting a lot of guys and learning a lot. I don't think you can match this kind of experience anywhere else.''

Among the highlights last week for Winker was a 2-for-4, four-RBI performance in a 14-3 win over Mesa. Fellow Reds prospect Kyle Waldrop went 4-for-6 with three RBIs in the game and talked after about Winker's personality and impact on his teams.

"[Winker's] full of energy and he's a good clubhouse guy," Waldrop said. "He's part of what we have going where one guy gets a hit and then the next guy gets a hit and we all feed off each other. The biggest part of the game is having fun."

Jake Seiner is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter at @Jake_Seiner.