Robert Winslow went to bed Thursday believing his baseball career was over.
The MLB Draft had passed earlier in the week without The Master’s University Mustangs right-hander hearing his name, and Winslow had turned his attention to a different kind of job search.
“Like everything. Sales, real estate, marketing,” said Winslow, who graduated last month with a finance degree.
Before falling asleep Thursday, Winslow even composed an Instagram post thanking all those who had helped him build a successful pitching career, one that was ending sooner than he had hoped.
The message soon became obsolete.
Winslow awoke Friday to find a missed call from Seattle Mariners area scout Ryan Holmes.
“I slept in,” Winslow said, “because I didn’t have anything to do Friday.”
Holmes called again and informed Winslow that the club wanted to sign the 6-foot-5 righty to a free agent contract, news that set off a whirlwind 24 hours.
Winslow flew to Arizona on Friday night before taking a physical Saturday and officially signing with the team at its spring training facility in Peoria, Arizona.
He joined catcher Anthony Lepre as Mustangs to join the Mariners this week. Seattle selected Lepre in the 28th round of the MLB Draft on Wednesday.
Winslow, despite striking out 104 batters, posting a 10-1 record and sporting a low-90s fastball as a senior at Master’s, was not among those chosen in the draft. He appeared to come to grips with the development.
“Baseball was more than just a game, it has been a lifestyle for me over the past 17 years,” Winslow wrote on Instagram. “I am thankful for everyone who invested in me and helped me reach my potential over those years.”
Instead, the journey continues.
In total, the Mariners now have three Mustangs in their organization. Master’s alum Daniel Sheaffer is at Triple-A Tacoma, and Lepre signed with the Mariners in Peoria on Saturday.
It’s possible that Lepre and Winslow will begin the year with Seattle’s short-season Class-A affiliate in Everett, Washington.
Master’s alum Aaron Shackelford, who hit 36 home runs and was named NAIA Player of the Year this week, was expected to fly to Pittsburgh to sign his contract in the coming days before reporting to Florida for workouts. The Pirates, Shackelford said, had told him he would begin his career in Bristol, Virginia, with one of Pittsburgh’s rookie ball affiliates.
Winslow’s dreams of professional baseball began early, as far back, he says, as the days when he would collect MLB trading cards as a youngster.
Winslow played high school baseball at Saugus High, located roughly six miles from TMU’s campus. His breakout season with the Mustangs came as a sophomore in 2017 when he posted a 2.95 ERA in 17 starts.
Winslow finished his Master’s career as the program’s sixth-winningest pitcher (23 wins). He tallied the third most strikeouts in program history with 293 and helped the Mustangs reach the NAIA World Series in 2016 and 2017.
— By Mason Nesbitt, Sports Information Director