Phillies Prospect #61: Zack Sterner

Zack Sterner already has a strong slider and three other pitches that are coming along well. The only question is whether he'll wind up as a reliever or starter.

Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the 17th round of the 2007 Draft.

B: R  T: R  /  Height: 6' 1"  /  Weight: 180 lbs.  /  Birth Date: 11-7-1985

2007 Team: Lakewood (18 g), GCL (2 G)

Games/Games Started in 2007: 20 g / 0 gs

School: Tennessee Wesleyan College

Repertoire: Zack Sterner has the ability to throw four pitches for strikes, but he relies primarily on his slider as an out pitch. Sterner admits that he wasn't serious about pitching until his senior season in high school and he didn't even throw a change-up until he hit college, but now, his change-up is an above average pitch for him. His fastball and curve are lagging behind, but he can throw both for strikes, which is half the battle. As the Phillies continue to work with him, it's likely that both pitches will become at least average weapons for Sterner and they believe that he can pump up the velocity on his fastball to a range that will make his change-up a little trickier for hitters to figure out.

Pitching Style: Sterner relies heavily on his slider, but will have to start mixing in other pitches on a more regular basis to be effective as he continues to move up the ladder. Since he can throw strikes, Sterner uses that to his advantage and simply goes after hitters with pitches down in the strike zone. He struck out 37 hitters in 42 innings last season and those numbers came by relying simply on a slider and change-up. As he develops velocity and maturity, Sterner will blossom into more of a power pitcher, but with a twist, since he should have solid secondary pitches to mix in and keep hitters off balance.

Projection: It's going to be interesting to see whether the Phillies keep Sterner in the bullpen or move him into the starting rotation. Since he's got a variety of pitches that he can throw for strikes, it will be tempting to move him into a starting role. Sterner is one of those middle round picks that the Phillies have done pretty well with over the past few years and he has the talent to move through the system in a pretty timely fashion.

Zack Sterner's career stats

2007 GCL 1 0 1.69 0 2 0 5.1 3 1 1 1 2 2 0.94
2007 Lakewood 1 1 2.70 3 18 0 36.2 29 12 11 1 13 35 1.15
TOTALS 2 1 2.57 3 20 0 42.0 32 13 12 2 15 37 1.12

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