Legends On Deck

Exclusive Interview With Mets 1B Prospect: Dash Winningham

Dash Winningham

Photo By: David Conde/LOD

In 2014, the New York Mets signed first baseman Dash Winningham in the 8th round of the MLB June Amateur draft from Trinity Catholic High School in Ocala, Florida. At that point few people outside of Florida knew who Winningham was, but more than a year later, his name is circulating around the minor leagues as a player to watch very closely.

I recently spoke with Winningham about his journey so far through the professional ranks.

The pride of Ocala, Florida, started his professional baseball career with the Gulf Coast Mets in the summer of the draft and batted .231, with five home runs, and 36 RBI’s in 52 Gulf Coast League games. Then in 2015, the Mets placed Winningham on the Kingsport Mets in the Appalachian League, and in 66 games, he batted .266, tied for the league lead with 12 home runs, while leading the league in games played (66), at bats (267), and RBI (51).

The power hitting lefty showed major improvement from one year to the next and he shared the difference maker, “During the 2015 spring, I worked on being more consistent, also losing about 25-30 pounds and made a lot of improvements defensively, especially with my footwork and having a good feel around the bag. I felt like I really matured a lot in my game, which really showed in Kingsport last summer.”

Winningham was a standout player at Trinity Catholic High School and for most players making the jump straight to professional baseball is not an easy task, but he shared with me how the change affected him, “Going from High School to the Gulf Coast League was a huge transition on and off the field, from playing every single day, being out on your own away from family and friends, especially during the first summer out of high school.”

Winningham continues, “With my offense there were adjustments I had to make that I got away with in High School, but pro ball helped me to develop a really good approach the first year, also with putting up some good power numbers.”

The improvements showed quickly as the left handed power hitter enjoyed a breakout season in Kingsport.

Dash Winningham

Photo by: David Conde/LOD

Now the 2016 season will bring many challenges for the young prospect, but at the end of the day, the game is where he belongs, and he puts it into perspective what it truly means to him, “I always try and go out each day knowing that it is a job, but at the same time its the job I have always wanted to do. There is nothing better than having an opportunity to play the game I love as a career. Can’t take it for granted because not everyone makes it to the pro ranks and I have to look at it as a great opportunity and blessed to be in this spot.”

When Winningham was still in High School, he and I discussed what was the best option, going on to play college baseball or turning pro, and now he shares how confident he feels with the choice he made, “I am 100% sure I made the right decision to go pro rather than go straight to college. I’ve learned so much in the last two seasons in the game, especially from guys like L.J. Mazzilli who spent some time with us in extended last spring and his approach really helped my game.”

Winningham is a talented ball player with a very bright future in baseball.  With the Mets limited with true first basemen in the system, his jump to the majors will depend on how well he continues to develop.  Nothing is ever guaranteed in this game, but from how he has adjusted so far with everything that has come his way, Winningham is in a great position to continue striving at all levels.

“Where ever I end up playing this summer, I am going to play my heart out and give it all I have and show everyone how much I love this game,” Winningham says with confidence.


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