Giants Prospects

Giants call up ‘workhorse' pitching prospect Keaton Winn

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SAN FRANCISCO -- The drive from Ollie -- a town of about 200 in Southeast Iowa -- to St. Louis takes four to five hours, depending on which highway you take. But it's a hell of a lot closer than San Francisco, and on Monday, the Giants made things convenient for Keaton Winn's family members and friends. 

The right-handed pitcher was called up to the big leagues for the first time, taking the roster spot of Tristan Beck, who was optioned back to Triple-A. Winn will be available out of the bullpen for a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals. 

The 25-year-old is the latest to make quick work of Triple-A, but the promotion isn't much of a surprise. The Giants had him in big league camp this year, knowing that he likely would be needed at some point out of the bullpen or in the rotation, and they kept Winn on hold all weekend as they played out two bullpen games.

Winn originally was supposed to start Saturday in Sacramento but got pushed back a day. He didn't end up pitching Sunday, either, allowing him to bring a fresh arm to a bullpen that's not in terrible shape but could use some support. The Giants left Beck in the Bay Area after he pitched Friday and Sunday, and Ryan Walker and John Brebbia are likely to be unavailable for at least a game against the Cardinals after carrying heavy loads over the weekend. 

Winn's stuff should play up out of the bullpen, but it's not as if he needs much of a boost. He sits in the mid-90s with his fastball and has hit triple-digits, complementing that with a good splitter. Winn learned the pitch while rehabbing from Tommy John and said this spring that he has watched Kevin Gausman and Alex Cobb, among others, to try and figure out how to properly use it against big league hitters. 

"I go at guys pretty head-on," he said this spring. "It's a fastball and a lot of splits in and out of the zone."

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Winn has made nine starts in Triple-A and been especially sharp the last three times out, going exactly four innings in each start while operating under a pitch count. In those 12 innings, he allowed one earned run and struck out 18. 

"Keaton has gotten a lot better and he's gaining confidence," River Cats manager Dave Brundage said last week. "His split is much, much better from the start of the season. I credit him and I credit [pitching coach Garvin Alston] for the job they've been doing. He's a workhorse, every day he comes to work and comes to get better."

That work now will continue at the big league level. 

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