Cubs Prospects A-Z—Rob Zastryzny, Tony Zych

Northsiders Report concludes its series on Cubs prospects with a pair of pitchers. The Cubs loaded up on college arms in the 2013 draft and the first one they selected was University Missouri product left-hander Rob Zastryzny. Drafted twice by the Cubs, Illinois native Tony Zych makes his way to Wrigley.

Rob Zastryzny, P
Age: 21 (3/26/1992)
Throws: Left
Bats: Right
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 205

2013 Teams: Boise Hawks, Northwest League, (SS); Kane County Cougars, Midwest League, (A)

Northsiders Report 2014 Ranking—# 18

How acquired—Drafted in the second round in 2013, # 41 overall

Prior to Cubs
Despite going 17-1 with a 0.20 ERA and 198 strikeouts his senior year at Calallen High School in Corpus Christi, and being named 2010 All-South Texas Pitcher of the Year, the lefty went undrafted and headed to the University of Missouri. He made 15 starts his freshman year and earned All-Big 12 freshman honors going 2-5 with a 4.33 ERA. As a sophomore, he was Missouri's top pitcher, sporting a 5-5 mark with a 3.80 ERA and 76 punchouts in 109 innings. The Friday night starter as a junior, Zastryzny went 2-9 with a 3.38 ERA but the Tigers only averaged 2.5 runs per game in his 13 starts. He tossed 90.2 innings with 92 strikeouts with three complete games and 24 walks. Here's more on Zastryzny at Missouri including comments from his coaches.

2013 Season
With already close to 100 innings on his arm, the Cubs had Zastryzny on a short leash in his first pro season as he made 11 appearances (24 IP) but only went over three innings once. Zastryzny made his pro debut July 7 working a scoreless inning with two strikeouts. He had a 3.14 ERA in 8 appearances – seven starts with a line of 14.1 IP, 15 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 16 K, .268 BAA. He was promoted to Kane County on Aug. 7 and made three relief appearances for the Cougars, earning his first pro win throwing three shutout innings against Burlington. He allowed one run in 9.2 IP in the MWL with 6K and 4BB. In his 24 innings, he had a 8:22 BB/K ratio, a 2.25 ERA, and a .264 BAA.

2014 Outlook
Really looking forward to seeing Zastryzny in his first full-pro season as he should start the year in Kane County but I wouldn't be surprised if he made the leap to Daytona and spent the entire season in the FSL. The left-hander got better every year at Missouri and with his repertoire of pitches, could find his way on Top 100 prospect lists by the end of the summer. That will depend of his ability to handle a full-season as well as learning the art of maneuvering his way through a line-up of pro hitters. He has the ability to add and subtract off a fastball that runs from 89-95 and has an above average change-up. He also throws a curve and slider.

Tony Zych, P
Age: 23 (8/7/1990)
Throws: Right
Bats: Right
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 190

2013 Team: Tennessee Smokies, Southern League (AA)

Northsiders Report 2014 Ranking:—Not rated

How acquired:—Drafted in the fourth round in 2011, # overall

Prior to Cubs
A product of St. Rita High School in Chicago, Zych helped lead the Mustangs to the state tournament as a junior and received numerous accolades as a senior. The Cubs drafted the local product in the 46th round but went to college at Louisville. Zych earned freshman All-American honors after going 6-2 with a 3.25 ERA in 21 games (44 IP, 31 K). His performance earned him a spot on the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team and he made six appearances out of the pen with 17 K in 15 IP and a 2.93 ERA. Zych fanned 50 in 59.9 innings as a sophomore but didn't have the same success as his ERA ballooned to 5.13 as he made five starts in 22 games. That summer he took the Cape Cod League by storm, leading with league with 12 saves and a 0.89 ERA. He was named the Cape's Outstanding Relief Pitcher and earned the Robert A. McNeece Award as the Outstanding Pro Prospect. In his final season for the Cardinals, Zych recorded 12 saves in 28 appearances, all out of the bullpen. He earned third-team All-Big East honors after throwing 30 innings (0-2 3.00 ERA) with 30 K and a BAA of .250.

Cubs Career
After the draft, Zych made his pro debut in the Arizona Rookie League (2 G, 2 IP, 3K) and finished up the year with two scoreless innings in Boise. He skipped the Midwest League and began the 2012 campaign in Daytona, recording six saves in 27 games to go along with a 3-3 record and a 3.19 ERA. He recorded 36 K in 36 IP and only waked seven as FSL batters hit .239. He was promoted to AA and appeared in 20 games for the Smokies, going 2-1 with a 4.38 ERA. In 24.2 innings, he fanned 28, and surrendered his first pro homer.

2013 Season
Used as a set-up man out of the bullpen for the Smokies, Zych made 47 appearances and logged 56 AA innings. He earned three saves and finished 5-5 with a 3.05 ERA. His strikeout numbers dipped to a career low 6.4 K/9 and and at times struggled with his command, with a walk rate of 3.4 BB/9. Zych was dominating for almost two months at Tennessee as he was 2-0 with two saves from June 25 to Aug. 18 and only allowed 10 hits and three walks in 21.1 innings over 18 games. He had a minuscule 0.42 ERA and a .145 BAA during the stretch.

2014 Outlook
After over 80 innings in AA the past two seasons, Zych should make the move to AAA. Zych's fastball was clocked at 95 during the 2012 Arizona Fall League but he was down in the low 90s during the season and threw a breaking ball in the mid-80s. Zych works out of the stretch and shows good athleticism on the mound. He provides another power arm out of the pen and adds depth at the upper levels.

Rest of the Ys and Zs

Al Yevoli, LHP—Yevoli, 24, was signed to a minor league contract in July after pitching with the Independent League Washington (PA) Wild Things. Yevoli helped lead Tennessee Wesleyan to the NAIA national championship in 2012. He made 11 appearances with Kane County in his debut season, throwing 20 innings with a ERA of 3.15 and a BAA of .291. The left-hander fanned 19 and walked seven.

Jose Zapata, RHP—Signed in November of 2012, Zapata made an impressive debut as the 20-year-old went 4-0 with a 1.93 ERA, throwing 56 innings, third on the staff. The right-hander had a BAA of .181 and after surrendering seven runs in a start on Aug. 1, allowed five hits and no runs over his last 14 innings. Zapata's WHIP of .80 would have led the league if he would have qualified but fell two innings short. Zapata was named a mid-season all-star.

Brad Zapenas, IF—The 24-year-old returned from surgery to repair a torn labrum and got back on the diamond in June in his third pro season. A 42nd round pick out of Boston College, Zapenas spent most of his year at Kane County (.255/.419/.319 in 17 games) and also played at Tennessee (1 game) and Daytona (9 G).

Oliver Zapata, OF—Not sure anyone had Zapata playing the most games in center for Kane County when the season started but the 21-year-old did just that. In his second year in the MWL, Zapata improved slightly on his previous year hitting .240/.317/.372 with seven homers and 49 RBI.

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