rob zastryznyAs with Kris Bryant before him, there are some bits to discuss on the Cubs’ second round pick – number 41 overall – Rob Zastryzny, a lefty starter out of Missouri. Unlike Bryant, Zastryzny wasn’t generally thought to be the Cubs’ pick going into the second round, and, although he didn’t have a ton of buzz last night, it’s not like the pick was a total stretch.

  • As for his stats: Zastryzny posted a 3.38 ERA over 90.2 innings this season (I’m not even going to discuss his W/L record because it’s meaningless and deceiving). He struck out 82 while walking 24. He was Missouri’s Friday night starter, so the coaching staff clearly believed in his abilities.
  • On the rankings side, although Jonathan Mayo didn’t have Zastryzny in his top 100 draft prospects, Baseball America pegged him at 76, Baseball Prospectus/Perfect Game had him at 81, and Keith Law had him at 58. With pick 74 set to begin the third round today, there’s no certainty that Zastryzny would still have been on the board for the Cubs at 75 today.
  • Baseball America’s take on Zastryzny: “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.” Changing speed on your fastball is truly an impressive talent (“effortlessly,” even), though I’d question why you wouldn’t sit in the mid-90s if you were easily able to do it.
  • on Zastryzny: “The latest in a long line of talented Missouri pitchers, Zastryzny has a good feel for the craft of pitching. His fastball typically sits in the upper-80s, but Zastryzny has the ability to add and subtract velocity as necessary. His fastball velocity typically ranges from 86 mph to 94 mph. Zastryzny, a left-hander, uses his height – he’s listed at 6-foot-3 – to create a downhill angle for his fastball, which has late action. Zastryzny also throws a changeup and slider. He commands his whole arsenal well and all three of his pitches have the chance to be at least Major League-average offerings.”
  • Speaking of which, I’ve now read in multiple places that Zastryzny was sitting in the mid-90s during the SEC Tournament (for example,, during which he was probably scouted heavily by the Cubs. And, lets be clear: a lefty that throws 94/95 with late sinking action is a first round talent, regardless of what the rankings say.
  • Projecting where he’ll start out in the Cubs’ system – assuming he signs – and where he’ll rank is tricky. He doesn’t seem to be the same kind of obvious top ten talent that Pierce Johnson was when the Cubs took him around the same spot in the Draft last year, but the scouting reports sound like at least a top 20 guy in the Cubs’ system. He’s likely to get in just a little bit of work late in the year at rookie ball or possibly short season Boise. He’s already pitched a full collegiate season this year, so he’s not going to see a ton of time, even if he signs quickly. Next year will really be the tell on how advanced he is. Kane County seems like the baseline, with High-A Daytona a possibility to start the season.
  • As far as signability, there doesn’t appear to be any concern. Zastryzny was picked slightly ahead of where he was ranked, and it’s fair to wonder whether the Cubs had already had discussions with the lefty about what it would take to sign. The slot value for his pick is about $1.36 million. If the Cubs could sign him for closer to $1 million (I’m just speculating here), and Bryant for close to $6 million, they would have saved $1 million to be used elsewhere in the Draft, despite not going cheap on either pick.
  • Here’s a short highlight package/profile piece on Zastryzny from Mizzou:

  • bryan

    ok I no this is z’s post and all but can someone tell me whats vogs power tool projected to be? Just to put bryants power in perspective and I imagine vogs is our top power hitter in the minors.

    • BluBlud

      Vogs i think is 70, Bryant is a 80.

      • Noah

        Vogs is pretty unanimously viewed as having 70 power potential, but the one thing I feel I have to keep noting is that the scouts are all over the place between 70 and 80 on Bryant’s raw power. With that said, 70 is still really awesome power.

        • bryan

          alright thanks fellas

        • hansman1982

          Split the difference and give him 75 power…that’s elite-ish.

          Based on the scouting reports I have seen, maybe a not-as-good at contact but better OBP skills version of Aramis.

      • JulioZuleta

        Bryant is not an 80 at all. Maybe 1 report has said that, but he’s just not. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t have incredible power, but he’s not on Stanton or Harper level…at all.

  • John

    I covered the Mizzou baseball team this season and was able to watch all of his home starts and interviewed him multiple times.

    Some points:

    – The reason in the fastball velocity discrepancy is that there is no official gun at Mizzou’s stadium. Relied heavy on scout’s guns for readings until he hit the SEC tournament, where he was sitting at 92-93.

    – Changeup is definitely a plus pitch, but his breaking definitely needs work if he wants to throw it for strikes.

    – On the personal side, he is a really great guy. Team leader and ace for Mizzou, pitched under intense pressure as the Tigers were usually scoring one or two runs a game.

    – Shows positive emotions and a willingness to learn from his mistakes.

    Overall, really happy with the pickup and I think Cub fans will be pleasantly surprised. He still has a lot of room to grow, so the future is bright for Rob Z.

    • YourResidentJag

      Thanks for the info.

    • Brett

      Great stuff, John Thanks.

      • John

        I have a bunch of my interviews on my computer from his manager and him. Might run through them and see if there is anything else I can rummage up.

  • Holy Cow

    Harry is rolling in his grave just thinking about having to pronouse that name.

    • BD

      I was thinking of him trying to pronounce it backwards…

      “Hey Steve, you know Zastryzny backwards is ‘IN-ZERT-ZAZ’!”

    • miggy80

      That almost brought a tear to my eye, LoL!

  • TT

    Re: Zastryzny and velocity

    It’s a matter of combining all the elements of that pitch, velocity, movement, and command. From what I’ve read, although his velocity has ticked up recently, he’s only touching 95 or even 96 if he’s throwing a 4 seamer(less/no movement. BA mentioned specifically “up in the zone”, which has a slight implication that he’s trying to get a chase with that pitch, implying less command as well.

    It’s the same thing we saw with another Z that wore a Cubs uniform. He was most effective in the low 90s when he could spot the fastball and make it dive and dance. He had the ability to dial it into the mid-90s, but it flattens out and loses control, so you don’t really *want* to “sit” at that velocity given that dynamic.

    • gocatsgo2003

      With another significant difference being the lefty/righty comparison… I’ll take that kind of “problem” from a lefty much more easily than from the right side.

  • someday…2015?

    Nice video. This kid reminds me of Mark Buehrle.

  • BD

    Adding/subtracting MPH from your fastball is useful in keeping hitters off balance. If a guy throws 93 every pitch, you can time it better. If it’s coming 91,93,89,92,88,93,87,90,93,etc…. those little difference just cause more popups and grounders rather than really solid contact. But it sounds like he is smart about pitching- something I think the Cubs need (rather than just a thrower).

  • Saving grace

    Losing Krook so close to their pick hurt
    But with lhp being scarce in the system Brett,Luke what do you think about
    Jake Brentz
    Has hit 100 ,strong armed lefty
    Very raw but has big upside and potential.
    Seems like a nice fit,thats why they have Johnson,right ,to develope these high toolsy guys that are raw

    also what about Trey Michaelewski hs 3b
    Cubs have scouted him and very much like him has big time hit tool potential and fields a good 3b.Bryant might not stick and this kid has the tools
    Also Okey over Denny in my mind if they go catcher seems scouts say Denny can keep up with heat and his defense isn’t as good as Okey who has a hit tool many think projects well
    Lastly i think stay away from serrano(won’t sign) and Wahl velocity issues and has some mind issues when he gets in a bind and relies to heavily on one pitch

    Great coverage

    • Saving grace

      That was suppose to be Denny has trouble keeping up with heat

  • Mr. Gonzo

    “Zah-Strizz-Knee” – Correct-o?

    • cjdubbya

      Zpellcheck. As opposed to Jeff Spellcheck.

  • corey costello

    Theo really is an evil genius. All his choices make so much sense after they happen and are explained.

  • hansman1982

    I like this pick if only because of all the angst against it last night. Last time I saw this much angst against an acquisition was Schierholtz…

    • Kyle

      You win the draft by having the biggest positive difference between your pick number and the prospect’s ranking in the BA top 500. Theo can’t even win the draft. He tanked it!

      • hansman1982

        They’ve gone and flipped The Plan. Instead of tanking seasons, they are tanking drafts…


        • Stinky Pete

          You will hire Sandborg. Resistance is futile.

          • JOE

            Sandberg…. it’s spelled Sandberg.

            • Hansman1982


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  • Coop

    Did anyone else enjoy Phil Rogers repeatedly butchering Zastryzny’s name as much as I did?

  • miggy80

    With a good fastball and change up and his breaking stuff being less consistent. Hopefully this means less chance of arm trouble.

  • Aaron

    Zastryzny looks like a projectable #3 starting pitcher for the Cubs in 2-3 years. Good attitude and solid leader. Carries himself like a major leaguer. I like this pick.

  • Die hard

    Yea but Pittsburgh picked up two good players first 2 picks

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  • Avery

    He ended up going to Boise for a short season and my family is hosting him! He is really nice and respectful. He will definitely be a major league pitcher in a couple of years!

    • Brett

      Thanks for sharing that, Avery – and for doing the hosting thing. Very cool of your family, and probably a fun experience. Seems like a funny, bright guy. His career will be one to follow.