Reliever Jason Zgardowski could find himself picking up speed as he looks to move up the minor league ladder

Jason Zgardowski went undrafted in 2014, but the Phillies signed him late in the season as an amateur free agent. Since then, he's progressed nicely as a reliever. After not being ranked last season, he's the 48th best prospect on this year's list.

Baseball is full of players who, for one reason or another, went undrafted. Instead of giving up, Jason Zgardowski signed with the independent Alexandria Blue Anchors of the Northwoods league and showed enough to interest the Phillies when they were looking for pitching help late in the season. With Alexandria, Zgardowski was working primarily as a starter, making 12 starts and one relief appearance, with a mark of 2-7 and an ERA of 3.77 in his 13 games.

The Phillies used him to start two games in the GCL in 2014, but he pitched exclusively as a reliever last season and seems destined to stick in that role, unless he develops a bigger and better repertoire. For now, Zgardowski is getting by with a fastball, slider and change. The fastball is generally in the low-90s, but he pumps it up to the mid-range on occasion and figures to gain at least a little velocity as time goes on. The 6' 5" righty throws both a four-seam and two-seam fastball. The changeup is somewhat of a work in progress, but it's coming along nicely. The slider sits in the mid-80s, giving him good speed separation from the fastball.

As with a lot of young pitchers, control is the question mark for Zgardowski. In his two minor league seasons, he's walked 28 and struck out 64 in 67 2/3 innings. He also uncorked ten wild-pitches last season with Lakewood and two more with Williamsport. Combine that with seven hit batters and you see where the problem comes in. As he continues to develop, it's likely that he'll corral some of that wildness, some of which, could also be attributed to learning new pitches (changeup and two-seamer).

An encouraging sign is that in his short time in the minors, when he's faced batters who were among the 20 best prospects in baseball, he's done very well, holding them to just a .162 (6-for-37) avergae, allowing one extra-base hit (a double), while striking out 12 and walking four.

Jason Zgardowski - career stats

YearTmWLERAGSVIPHRERHRBBSOHBPWPWHIPH9HR9BB9SO9
2014 Phillies 0 1 2.70 3 0 10.0 10 4 3 1 2 10 0 1 1.200 9.0 0.9 1.8 9.0
2015 2 Teams 4 1 3.12 34 2 57.2 36 20 20 2 26 54 7 12 1.075 5.6 0.3 4.1 8.4
2015 Williamsport 1 0 2.25 6 2 8.0 5 2 2 1 4 9 1 2 1.125 5.6 1.1 4.5 10.1
2015 Lakewood 3 1 3.26 28 0 49.2 31 18 18 1 22 45 6 10 1.067 5.6 0.2 4.0 8.2
All Levels (2 Seasons) 4 2 3.06 37 2 67.2 46 24 23 3 28 64 7 13 1.094 6.1 0.4 3.7 8.5
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/31/2016.

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