When I spoke with San Antonio Missions closer Trey Wingenter, it was a week and a half ago, on a mid-90s afternoon in the home dugout of Wolff Stadium. Since then, we’ve had another edition of the MLB Draft, Wingenter has been named a Texas League All-Star, and the Missions have clinched the first half division championship. Things have been going well for the 23-year-old with a light southern accent and a 99 MPH fastball.
The 6’7″ righty from Auburn has an impressive résumé, from throwing a trio of no-hitters as a high schooler to not allowing a homer in his first two years of professional ball (77 innings). With a smooth delivery and easy velocity, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Wingenter join the Padres bullpen in the very near future.
Well, Trey, the MLB Draft is coming up (well, it was at the time), thinking back to 2015, what memories do you have of that experience?
I remember that it felt like a long couple of days, for sure, but it was something I’ll never forget. On the third day, getting the call – well, not really even getting a call, me and my mom were listening to the guys getting picked over and over and talking to my agent, trying to figure out what was going to happen. Then, you hear your name come up, and then that’s it. You know just as fast as anybody else.
So you didn’t get a call ahead of time or anything?
There wasn’t a call ahead of time. You kind of knew which team were in on you, and which teams were trying to work something out, but I heard it even before the area scout or my agent, whoever I was talking to at the time. I heard my name the same time as everyone else.
Have you been a closer throughout your career?
No, I’ve done a little bit of everything. Going back to college, I was in probably every role you could think of throughout my three years. Then here, last year, I started throwing out of the ‘pen, and slowly migrated more towards the back of the bullpen, and even this year, I’ve done a little bit of everything coming out of the bullpen.
What kind of mentality do you need to have, being the last guy out of the bullpen?
Really, you’ve got to focus on that first guy. I think that’s the most important thing is getting that first guy out. When things have not gone well, it usually stems from the leadoff guy getting on, or getting behind the leadoff guy, and that gives the (opposing) team a little more life. If you get the first guy out, it makes it a lot tougher for them to score when the game’s on the line.
You didn’t allow a homerun in your first two years in the minors, and you’ve been having a solid season this year in Double-A. What do you do that makes it so hard to get good contact off you?
I may have a little deception, but I just try to attack with my fastball, and I like to pitch inside, and that’s something that may make some hitters uncomfortable. I just try to be aggressive, and that’s really the backbone of my mentality.
Do you have any goals for this season that you’d feel like sharing with us?
Really, I just want to keep going out very time and helping the team as best I can, and wherever I end up is where I end up. Obviously, the goal is to make it to the big leagues, but I think the way to do that is to stay focused on the day in and day out, and try to attack the hitters when I get in there and do the best I can for the team.