Well, I’m officially going to have to start getting better at spelling “Zastryzny.” (Zastryzny, Zastryzny, Zastryzny.)
Today, the Chicago Cubs’ second round pick in the 2013 Draft, and newest Cubs pitching prospect, announced via Twitter that he’s signed with the Cubs:
Officially part of the Chicago Cubs organization. Thanks for all the support and I can't wait to start the journey. #Cubs
— Rob Zastryzny (@RobZastryzny_8) June 17, 2013
No word yet on terms or anything like that, but it’s good to know that Zastryzny (Zastryzny) is formally in the fold. Described by some on Draft Day as a “reach” at number 41 overall, Zastryzny was not expected to be an early second round pick. Even still, he was a well-regarded pitcher this year in the SEC, and his selection wasn’t completely out of left field.
I did a comprehensive rundown on the lefty shortly after he was drafted, which might be worth your time now that he’s signed. The short version: opinions on Zastryzny were greatly varied going into the Draft (Keith Law ranked him as the 58th best draft prospect, while Jonathan Mayo didn’t have him in the top 100), but the post-Draft buzz generally focused on the mid-90s fastball he was showing late in the year.
I particularly liked Baseball America’s scouting report: “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 Cubs spent a great deal of time on their second and third round picks, and all indications are that they got the two guys they really wanted there, including Zastryzny. Although he’s not a sure thing to appear on the Cubs’ next round of top ten prospect lists, he’ll probably be right there in the second cut – and that’s mostly because the Cubs’ positional prospects are so good, and so deep. In a system without a ton of high level, quality arms, Zastryzny is right up there with the best in the organization.
Since he’s pitched a full collegiate season this year already, I wouldn’t expect to see him doing too much work in the minors this year. An appearance in Mesa with the AZL Cubs and/or in Boise with the Hawks is probably all we’re going to get – just a handful of innings.
It’ll be interesting to learn how much the Cubs spent to sign Zastryzny. Right now, the prevailing belief is that they’ll get him for a touch below the $1,361,900 slotted for the 41st overall pick, which will help the Cubs financially with other over slot picks. That said, the Cubs weren’t going to use their second round pick on a guy they didn’t really, really like. Saving money on the signing to use elsewhere is just the gravy.