Zagurski Poised For Success

Mike Zagurski is a guy who hasn't gotten a lot of notice - yet. That is likely to change in 2007 as he looks ready to make a big jump to Double-A Reading and push his way into the ranks of the better prospects in the organization.

With the Phillies having a decent amount of left-handed starters in the organization and a decent amount of starters, Mike Zagurski has had to switch roles as a professional pitcher. In college, Zagurski was a starter and did a pretty decent job of starting for the Kansas Jayhawks during his career there. The Phillies simply didn't need him in that role and completed his conversion to working as a reliever last season at Lakewood.

If any player epitomized the 2006 Lakewood BlueClaws, Zagurski was likely to be the one. The first half of his season wasn't anything to make anybody think that he would be where he was at the end of the season. The second half, however, was when Zagurski excelled and made believers of everybody. The same was true for the BlueClaws as they turned things around and wound up being the South Atlantic League champions.

Perhaps because of his youth, Zagurski showed some inconsistency last season with Batavia, but battled through every situation that he was given. Another issue is that for a pitcher who is being considered as a left-handed relief specialist, Zagurski was more effective against right-handed hitters during his stint with Lakewood. Right-handers hit .208 against him while lefties hit .268 against Zagurski.

The Phillies love how Zagurski can keep the ball down in the zone when he's on, but are working to keep his mechanics consistent. When his mechanics are off, Zagurski sinks into bad habits and leaves the ball up or out over the plate. While he doesn't have the greatest of "stuff", Zagurski knows how to pitch and will only get better as he moves - probably very quickly - through the system. It's very possible that he'll start the season at Double-A Reading and if he doesn't start there, it's almost a lock that he'll reach that level before the end of the season.

Hear what Lakewood BlueClaws' former play-by-play voice Ben Wagner has to say about Mike Zagurski:

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