Winker faces Chapman in BP

Left-handed prospect faces Reds' lefty closer

Winker faces Chapman in BP

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds top hitting prospect and outfielder Jesse Winker is getting his first exposure to big league camp this spring. Nothing will open one's eyes more than stepping into the batter's box to face flame-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman in live batting practice like Winker did on Thursday.

Winker, rated as the organization's No. 2 prospect and 26th in baseball by, enjoyed the experience even though the lefty hitter was facing one of the toughest left-handed pitchers around.

"It was really cool," Winker said. "You just realize he's the best closer in the game and it's just cool going up against a guy like that. He's got really good stuff and really good command. It was just fun going up there against him. Pipeline Perspectives

"My first swing, I barreled one up nice off him. Then he threw me some nice fastballs, and he threw a couple of sliders that were really nasty."

Later in the same session, a Chapman pitch split the bat of Yorman Rodriguez in half. Chapman is a three-time National League All-Star who saved 36 of 38 games last season while becoming the first pitcher in the Majors to average 100 mph with his fastball, according to Pitch F/x.

Winker also got to face Reds ace Johnny Cueto and reliever J.J. Hoover on Thursday.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.