2013 Cubs Prospects in Review: Rob Zastryzny

I believe this rounds out the prospect reviews as far as 2013 draftees go. Rob Zastryzny, a 6'3, 193 lb, 21 year old lefty drafted 41st overall out of Mizzou, was something of a surprise pick in the early 2nd round, as he was ranked 76th on the BA 500, and Jonathan Mayo admitted on draft night that he didn't have Zastryzny ranked in his personal top 100. A soft-tossing lefty with good command and pitchability, a solid changeup, and an inconsistant breaking ball, Zas (I'm calling him Zas because I'm too lazy to memorize how to spell Zastryznzyzyznzyznzy) looked like an underslot pick, allowing them to save some money and go after riskier overslot picks later on. Sure enough, Zastryzny signed for 1.1 million, roughly 260K under slot, and he went straight to Boise.

Performance

Zas pitched in 11 games between Boise and Kane County in 2013 and did everything you'd expect an upper-level college pitcher to do in the low minors. Zastryzny threw 24 innings, allowing 24 hits, 6 runs, 8 walks, and 22 Ks, totalling a 2.25 ERA between the two levels. He held batters to a .264 BAA and didn't allow a homer. He did walk a few more batters upon reaching Kane County, but it's three games and even the 24 innings we have between the two levels is a stupidly small sample size. Still, better to be good than to not be good, and Zastryzny got his pro career off to a good start.

Scouting

Zastryzny is something of a two-and-a-half pitch guy currently, relying primarily on a fastball that sits around 90, with a solid changeup and a work-in-progress, slurvy breaking ball as his secondary options. Here's what BA has to say: 

A lefthander who can really pitch with his fastball, he should go in the first three rounds. Zastrzyny effortlessly adds and subtracts from his fastball, usually sitting around 90 mph but capable of dropping down to 86 or elevating four-seamers up in the zone at 95. The 6-foot-3, 193-pounder can locate his fastball to either side of the plate and gets good angle, which helps it play up further. His most reliable secondary pitch is his changeup, which shows flashes of being a plus offering. His breaking ball is less consistent, as he will switch between a slider and curveball. Zastryzny throws strikes but will need to refine his command in pro ball.

The best video of him throwing is probably the bit included with the draft night coverage I linked to above (there's also a longer video of him throwing in-game on youtube, but it's from 2010 and doesn't seem terribly useful at this point). The delivery looks really smooth, balanced, and easy, which I imagine goes a long way towards his excellent fastball command and leaves him a little bit of extra velocity to reach back for when he needs it. His strikeout numbers in college weren't mindblowing (82 Ks in 90 2/3 IP last season with Mizzou) and the reports about his approach to pitching seem to suggest a style lending itself more to weak contact than eye-popping strikeout totals. If he can add a grade or two to the breaking ball, you might squint and see a profile that's a bit similar to Kyle Hendricks, the fringy fastball supplemented by pinpoint control and repertoire. That development would have to come pretty fast, though, as he'll be 22 next season.

Outlook

I'd expect Zastryzny to start 2014 with a return to Kane County, with the opportunity for a quick bump up to Daytona if he doesn't fall apart. Long-term, I think he's a back-end bullpen/AAA guy at best. Based on reports of his stuff, I can't imagine he has the velocity, the pitch repertoire, or the strikeout stuff to be even a fifth or sixth starter, and he doesn't really fit the power-arm profile this front office seems to want from its bullpen staples. Perhaps his secondary stuff develops and his pitchability plays up enough that he becomes someone a bit more intriguing, but until that happens I can't see him shooting up any organizational prospect rankings.

2013 Cubs Prospect Reviews

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