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OnBaseMachine
06-06-2008, 02:27 PM
Stewart drafted by Reds

By Andy Newberry
Friday, June 6, 2008

Zach Stewart grew up as an athlete with the pressure of a relay race, a big third down in a playoff football game or the need to go seven innings in a playoff baseball game.

And while the former Holliday High School star’s role became much more specialized as a relief pitcher at Texas Tech this year, the same desire to compete at crunch time and a strong right arm made him the third-round draft choice of the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday.

Stewart went with the 84th pick overall in the first-year player draft by Major League Baseball.

“It was crazy, I was on the phone with the Rockies and Royals at the time and I heard my named called,” Stewart said of the draft-day drama. “I’m pretty much glad to know my fate. I’ve been thinking about it for months now and wondering where I’ll be.”

Stewart went 3-2 with a 4.98 ERA with Texas Tech this season and led the Red Raiders with three saves. But his velocity was improved -- Stewart said it was usually 92-96 mph on his fastball -- and he struck out 43 batters in 47 innings.

And in recent years, college closers have made a quicker transition to professional baseball and several were taken in the early rounds on Thursday.

“I guess that’s the way the game is going,” Stewart said. “The closing role is becoming a big role. They are going for guys who have done it in college.

“I like it a lot. It prepared me a lot playing in the Big 12 and going against good hitters. I had a velocity jump this year and my slider got a lot better. The coaches at Tech helped me with that.”

Stewart also credits the “coach (Terry) Wolf’s gruesome practices are what got me ready for junior college ball (North Central Texas), and I’m sure it’ll help me as I get into minor league baseball and hopefully major league baseball. He gets guys prepared.”

Wolf said the overall “athleticism” of Stewart stood out and probably helped his development on the mound, too.

“He was a starting quarterback on a quarterfinalist in football, he ran track and he pitched in the state tournament all four years,” Wolf said. “He was fearless. All that competition helped him know how to compete with that effort.”

The MLB.com scouting report says that Stewart “has a closer mentality” and that he has “two plus power pitchers (fastball and slider) and command of both of them. He has the right demeanor to be a closer.”

Stewart said he had heard he could go anywhere from late first round to about where he was picked. He and his family were very interested viewers on the internet broadcast.

“I’m real excited about it,” Stewart said. “Before this year I never thought I would go in the first three rounds, maybe not the first 20 rounds.”

http://www.timesrecordnews.com/news/2008/jun/06/stewart-drafted-reds/

Joseph
06-06-2008, 02:30 PM
How fast tracked does anyone think he might be?

Are we looking at this year maybe?

OnBaseMachine
06-06-2008, 02:31 PM
How fast tracked does anyone think he might be?

Are we looking at this year maybe?

This year? No way. But he could possibly finish the season in Sarasota and maybe begin next year in Chattanooga depending on how he pitches.

crazyredfan40
06-06-2008, 02:34 PM
How fast tracked does anyone think he might be?

Are we looking at this year maybe?

I wouldn't think so...

Maybe next year...Don't see the need this year with Roenicke next in line, and having Herrerra as well ready to go when we need...

But that could change if he really impresses...

Joseph
06-06-2008, 02:38 PM
I suspect thats likely the case, but I just wondered. Wagner worked a couple seasons back until we screwed up his mechanics, no reason to think this one might not work just as well.

Blitz Dorsey
06-06-2008, 03:13 PM
I think people are getting a little too excited about Zach Stewart (probably because he was ranked so high by Baseball America). Looking at his numbers, I am just not impressed. Maybe he was the victim of bad luck, but I want my third-round draft pick to dominate college hitters. He didn't even come close to dominating. In fact, you could easily argue he was average at best.

However, the other side of me loves that we got a power arm and that he might have slipped a round or two (projected to be supplemental first or second).

But honestly, what about his numbers make you excited about him? He talks about this big velocity jump but it didn't seem to help him this year. Unless he was very bad at the JUCO level and these numbers are actually an improvement.

dougdirt
06-06-2008, 03:18 PM
I think people are getting a little too excited about Zach Stewart (probably because he was ranked so high by Baseball America). Looking at his numbers, I am just not impressed. Maybe he was the victim of bad luck, but I want my third-round draft pick to dominate college hitters. He didn't even come close to dominating. In fact, you could easily argue he was average at best.

However, the other side of me loves that we got a power arm and that he might have slipped a round or two (projected to be supplemental first or second).

But honestly, what about his numbers make you excited about him? He talks about this big velocity jump but it didn't seem to help him this year. Unless he was very bad at the JUCO level and these numbers are actually an improvement.

Go watch his scouting video. I don't worry much about a pitchers numbers in college (except maybe his walk totals, but that is something fixable in most cases).

Blitz Dorsey
06-06-2008, 03:18 PM
I must say Sean Watson was much more of an impressive prospect coming out of college (Tennessee's closer) and he is still not even close to being ready for the Big Leagues. BTW, Watson did well as a starter last year, but they moved him back to the bullpen this year and he's not doing very well. Way to mess a guy up! They should have just kept him a reliever all the way. Or, when they decided to make him a starter, they should have stuck with it. It's never a good idea to keep pulling guys in different directions during their minor league career. Let them find a role and become comfortable with it.

So, as for Stewart, I certainly don't expect him to rise faster through the organization than Watson has and Watson isn't even close to being ready for the Reds.

OnBaseMachine
06-06-2008, 03:22 PM
I think people are getting a little too excited about Zach Stewart (probably because he was ranked so high by Baseball America). Looking at his numbers, I am just not impressed. Maybe he was the victim of bad luck, but I want my third-round draft pick to dominate college hitters. He didn't even come close to dominating. In fact, you could easily argue he was average at best.

However, the other side of me loves that we got a power arm and that he might have slipped a round or two (projected to be supplemental first or second).

But honestly, what about his numbers make you excited about him? He talks about this big velocity jump but it didn't seem to help him this year. Unless he was very bad at the JUCO level and these numbers are actually an improvement.

You brought up his stats earlier in another thread and I pointed out that his numbers were just fine until Texas Tech decided to move him into the rotation late in the season. He got rocked in those few starts and saw his numbers go to hell. The Reds know what he can do as a reliever. He's got two plus pitches and pitched well against a tough Big-12.

Blitz Dorsey
06-06-2008, 03:23 PM
Go watch his scouting video. I don't worry much about a pitchers numbers in college (except maybe his walk totals, but that is something fixable in most cases).

But I would be contradicting myself if I said I was excited about Shunick because of his numbers, but ignored Stewart's pedestrian numbers.

However, again, I definitely wouldn't give the pick back. I like getting a power arm there and one that was ranked much higher than where the Reds got him. My point is just that I think people are getting a tad bit too excited about him. I would be shocked if he's in the Big Leagues before 2010.

Blitz Dorsey
06-06-2008, 03:26 PM
You brought up his stats earlier in another thread and I pointed out that his numbers were just fine until Texas Tech decided to move him into the rotation late in the season. He got rocked in those few starts and saw his numbers go to hell. The Reds know what he can do as a reliever. He's got two plus pitches and pitched well against a tough Big-12.

Oh, I didn't see your reply. That is very good to hear. I was wondering why everyone was so high on him when his numbers looked so average. It's one thing to have a good arm, but some guys just can't put it together when the lights are on. However, maybe it was just his stint as a starter that skewed Stewart's numbers like you said. That is great to hear.

dougdirt
06-06-2008, 03:27 PM
But I would be contradicting myself if I said I was excited about Shunick because of his numbers, but ignored Stewart's pedestrian numbers.

However, again, I definitely wouldn't give the pick back. I like getting a power arm there and one that was ranked much higher than where the Reds got him. My point is just that I think people are getting a tad bit too excited about him. I would be shocked if he's in the Big Leagues before 2010.

I would be shocked too, but getting to the bigs in 2010, no matter what date, is a very fast track.