Former UCF pitcher Danny Winkler made his MLB debut on Monday night with the Atlanta Braves.
He transferred to UCF for one year before being drafted in the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Colorado Rockies in the 20th round. The Braves acquired him from the Rockies in the Rule 5 Draft last December.
Winkler struck out the first batter he faced, Mets’ catcher Michael Conforto. He went on to face two batters after Conforto, walking one and striking out another.
Going into the season, MLB.com ranked Winkler as the Braves’ 26th-best prospect.
Winkler has always been a strikeout pitcher. While playing for UCF in 2011, he led the Knights in strikeouts with 92 in 82.1 innings, posting 36 more than anyone else. In 2013, he led the minor leagues in strikeouts with 175.
In his lone season as a Knight, Winkler was 3-4 with a 4.70 ERA and helped UCF to a 39-23 record and an appearance in an NCAA regional.
Colin Bell is a contributing writer for the Central Florida Future.