Latest News

Published On: September 22nd, 2015

Rochester, Minn. – Former Rochester Honkers pitcher, Daniel Winkler, made his Major League debut for the Atlanta Braves on Monday, September 21, 2015. Winkler is the 141st former Northwoods League player to reach the Major League level.

Winkler, who played collegiately at Parkland College in Illinois and the University of Central Florida, pitched for the Rochester Honkers in 2010. Winkler was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 20th round of the 2011 MLB draft.

In 2010 with the Honkers, Winkler was 3-2 with a 5.72 ERA in six appearances. He also struck out 26 batters in 28.1 innings pitched.

Winkler started his Minor League career in 2011 with the Casper Ghosts in the Rookie level Pioneer League. In 12 games he went 4-3 with a 3.92 ERA. He also struck out 65 batters in 57.1 innings pitched.

Winkler spent the 2012 season in the Lo-A South Atlantic League with the Asheville Tourists. He started in 25 games with the Tourists and was 11-10 with a 4.46 ERA. He continued his high strikeout rate as he struck out 136 batters in 145.1 innings pitched.

2013 saw Winkler start the year in Hi-A with the Modesto Nuts in the California League. After 22 games with Modesto he was promoted to the Tulsa Drillers in the AA Texas League. Between the two teams he went a combined 13-7 with a 2.98 ERA. His strikeout numbers were also way up as he struck out 175 batters in 157 innings pitched.

Winkler appeared in 12 games and was 5-2 with a 1.41 ERA for Tulsa in 2014 before he underwent season ending Tommy John surgery.

Even though Winkler would be unavailable most of this season, the Atlanta Braves selected him from the Rockies' organization during the 2014 Rule 5 Draft. This selection requires the Braves to keep him on their Major League active roster for most of next season's first half or offer him back to the Rockies.

A team that selects a player in the Rule 5 Draft pays $50,000 to the team from which he was selected. The receiving team must then keep the player on the Major League 25-man roster for the entirety of the next season, and the selected player must remain active (not on the disabled list) for a minimum of 90 days. If the player does not remain on the Major League roster, he is offered back to the team from which he was selected for $25,000. If his original team declines, the receiving team may waive the player.

In his Major League debut against the Mets, Winkler entered the game in relief of Brandon Cunniff in the 8th inning. Winkler proceeded to strike out Michael Conforto before walking Ruben Tejada. He then struck out Kirk Nieuwenhuis before he was replaced by former Madison Mallards pitcher Danny Burawa. Burawa then struck out former Mankato Masher Curtis Granderson to end the inning.


The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. The 22 year old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, over 140 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (KC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit