The Boston Red Sox selected La Verne catcher Joe Winterburn in the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
Winterburn, who got the good news on June 7, is currently a senior and will graduate either in the winter or spring with a bachelor’s of science degree in business administration.
“It’s pretty exciting to be playing professionally,” Winterburn said. “It’s a huge opportunity for me to be playing at a higher level.”
Winterburn was selected in the 40th round and 1,214th overall in the draft. “I was at home listening and he was at his friends house during the draft,” said head baseball coach Scott Winterburn, Joe Winterburn’s dad. “We were both very excited that day and calling each other about it.”
Joe Winterburn is the 41st Leopard to be drafted into the MLB in program history.
“It was hectic because I didn’t know if I was going to get picked up and I was getting really nervous,” Joe Winterburn said. “I just kept calling my dad about the possibilities I had.”
Joe Winterburn was the first drafted since Scott Lindeen in 2005, who was picked up by the Florida Marlins.
“I’m very happy for him,” Scott Winterburn said. “It’s something he wanted to do and I’m glad that he got the opportunity to do just that.”
Joe Winterburn started 20 games as a freshman and 35 as a sophomore at Division I UC Santa Barbara.
Transferring to La Verne for his senior year to play baseball for his dad, Joe Winterburn had a total batting average of .350 and .366 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
“He’s always confident and such a strong willed guy,” junior outfielder Nolan Henley said. “He hated losing and always had that strong desire to win and that’s a good mentality to have.”
He also had seven home runs and 54 RBIs in 40 games.
Joe Winterburn made his last season a memorable one.
He received multiple awards such as the “American Baseball Coaches Association/ Rawlings Division III Second Team All-American” and earned First Team All-SCIAC honors.
“Other than doing well on the field, he excelled academically with a 3.6 average GPA,” Scott Winterburn said.
“My senior year was a highlight on its own actually,” Joe Winterburn said. “Getting to play with the great group of guys on the team made my senior year memorable.”
As the coach’s son, Winterburn had more pressure than the rest of the team but still worked just as hard.
“He is definitely a laid back guy and always had a good time with everyone,” Henley said. “He’s easy to talk to and willing to help, making him a great leader.”
He was a leader on and off the field. He was there when his teammates needed advice and there to help, they said.
Joe Winterburn left for Fort Myers, Florida, on June 15 because that is where the Red Sox send rookie ball players. Now he is back at La Verne to finish his coursework. He will return to Florida in the spring.
“My advice to the team this year is to work hard and believe in yourself,” Joe Winterburn said. “Never give up and keep pushing.”
Jolene Nacapuy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.