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Thread: Zach Stewart - Starting Pitcher?

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    Member OnBaseMachine's Avatar
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    Zach Stewart - Starting Pitcher?

    As you all probably know by now, Zach Stewart made his Double-A debut tonight and pitched seven shutout innings, allowing only five hits, while walking two batters and striking out eight. He also posted an eye-popping 11 GO/0 FO ratio. That's a very impressive debut. This comes after he posted a 2.32 ERA, 8 BB/32 K, and 2.42 GO/FO in 42.1 innings (seven starts) with High-A Sarasota.

    I think the original plan for Stewart was to use him as a starter in order to develop his secondary stuff quicker. But after the way he's pitched in the starting role, I think the Reds have to think of him as a starter now. He has the stuff for it. According to Doug, Stewart's fastball was consistently at 91-94 and was touching 95/96. The announcer was constantly praising his slider, saying it has amazing break. Stewart also mixed in a changeup later in the game and picked up a few strikeouts with it. With two plus pitches and another pitch that is coming along nicely, I see no reason why Stewart can't handle a starting role. So far, durability doesn't seem to be a problem as he was reportedly still throwing with the same velocity late in the game tonight.

    Homer Bailey and Juan Carlos Sulbaran (and Kyle Lotzkar if he can stay healthy) are probably the only pitchers in the Reds minors with top-of-rotation stuff. We may be able to add Stewart to that list if he keeps pitching like this.
    I miss Adam Dunn.

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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Zach Stewart - Starting Pitcher?

    Maybe its just me, but I put Stewart well ahead of Sulbaran. Stewarts fastball and slider are VERY good pitches. He can hold his velocity into the 7th inning and get strikes on his slider when guys aren't swinging and is a HUGE groundball guy. Zach Stewart is a Top 5 prospect in the system right now until I hear he isn't a starter from the Reds.

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    Re: Zach Stewart - Starting Pitcher?

    I havent watched much of Stewart but what type of mechanics are we looking at? Any warning signs in his delivery?

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    Re: Zach Stewart - Starting Pitcher?

    Also just going off that hes got 2 outstanding pitches I think we should try to start him at every level. Those 2 pitches arent going away and are very strong for a reliever in general. Let him develop that change and see where it takes him.

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    Re: Zach Stewart - Starting Pitcher?

    http://timesfreepress.com/news/2009/...down-lookouts/

    anyway, not totally sold yet. this was a great debut, but it is only 1 game. his K/9 ratio in High A ball wasn't eye-popping or anything. He's still young though and I think he does have a useful roll with the Reds. Just not totally sold on him being a starter, but maybe he will be. It'd be great if he were.
    Last edited by fearofpopvol1; 05-23-2009 at 03:38 AM.

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    Re: Zach Stewart - Starting Pitcher?

    Quote Originally Posted by fearofpopvol1 View Post
    http://timesfreepress.com/news/2009/...down-lookouts/

    anyway, not totally sold yet. this was a great debut, but it is only 1 game. his K/9 ratio in High A ball wasn't eye-popping or anything. He's still young though and I think he does have a useful roll with the Reds. Just not totally sold on him being a starter, but maybe he will be. It'd be great if he were.
    Stewart was just adjusting to becoming a starter. In his first few starts, he gave up a ton of hits and wasn't racking up strikeouts but he continued to get better and better with each start. Now the hit totals are starting to decrease and the strikeouts are increasing.
    I miss Adam Dunn.

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    Re: Zach Stewart - Starting Pitcher?

    we have the best coach in the business to teach him the changeup

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    Re: Zach Stewart - Starting Pitcher?

    Paging Mr Soto, Mr Mario Soto, please report to Carolina to tighten up Stewart's chaneup and make him a legit #1/#2 starter threat in the majors. Thankyou.

    reports sound good, and if his slider/fastball combo is solid and his changeup is developing, you've got to figure Soto will work a bit with him to tighten that up at some point. Give the kid 3+ pitches and we're onto something special.

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    Re: Zach Stewart - Starting Pitcher?

    I don't know the answer to this, so it's not a leading question . . . but how many pitches does Brandon Webb throw? Derek Lowe? I do know that Bob Gibson was just fastball-slider at least 95 percent of the time. It just seems that if the two pitches are good enough, they're good enough -- particularly for a ground-ball pitcher. Not that I wouldn't like to see Stewart develop his change; of course I would. I'm just not sure it's a prerequisite for being a starter in the big leagues.

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    Re: Zach Stewart - Starting Pitcher?

    Quote Originally Posted by mace View Post
    I don't know the answer to this, so it's not a leading question . . . but how many pitches does Brandon Webb throw? Derek Lowe? I do know that Bob Gibson was just fastball-slider at least 95 percent of the time. It just seems that if the two pitches are good enough, they're good enough -- particularly for a ground-ball pitcher. Not that I wouldn't like to see Stewart develop his change; of course I would. I'm just not sure it's a prerequisite for being a starter in the big leagues.
    I would say its a pre-requisite to have an off-speed pitch to be a starter in the majors, and you need to throw it with the same motion as your fastball(see Travis Wood for exhibit A). You need to mess with batters' timing. They are too good at the majors if they can anticipate the timing of the ball crossing the plate.
    However, you don't need a changeup as much for relief. Batters don't get mutiple looks at a relief pitcher in a game so the changeup isn't as important. If Stewart learns to throw a deceptive changeup, then he will be considered a starting pitching prospect.

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    Re: Zach Stewart - Starting Pitcher?

    Quote Originally Posted by mace View Post
    I don't know the answer to this, so it's not a leading question . . . but how many pitches does Brandon Webb throw? Derek Lowe? I do know that Bob Gibson was just fastball-slider at least 95 percent of the time. It just seems that if the two pitches are good enough, they're good enough -- particularly for a ground-ball pitcher. Not that I wouldn't like to see Stewart develop his change; of course I would. I'm just not sure it's a prerequisite for being a starter in the big leagues.
    Nolan Ryan was fastball/curve most of his career. Towards the end he added a changeup. I think if you have two very good pitches and you know how to pitch and not just throw you can have alot of success with two pitches. Obviously if you have 3 good ones or even 4 thats even better.

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    Re: Zach Stewart - Starting Pitcher?

    Quote Originally Posted by dunner13 View Post
    Nolan Ryan was fastball/curve most of his career. Towards the end he added a changeup. I think if you have two very good pitches and you know how to pitch and not just throw you can have alot of success with two pitches. Obviously if you have 3 good ones or even 4 thats even better.
    My buddy told me the other day that Nolan Ryan, as team president of the Rangers, said the Rangers were doing away with strict pitching limits in the minors. It will be interesting to see how that works out because it goes against most current beliefs and organization philosophies.

    Back to Stewart. It will be interesting to see how the org handles his development, especially if they intend on making him a starter. Do they limit his innings and push the MLB timeline back until 2011? Do they allow him to throw more innings? or do they shut him down early? If the Reds think he could be MLB ready by late next season there is a way to limit his innings in the minors by only allowing him to pitch 5 innings per game. They can say hell with the current system and allow him to build up innings the old fashion way.

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    Re: Zach Stewart - Starting Pitcher?

    Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus on Zach Stewart:

    Stewart might be one of the better sleepers around really. His stuff is pretty impressive.
    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/ar...articleid=8947
    I miss Adam Dunn.

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    Re: Zach Stewart - Starting Pitcher?

    Another nice start tonight by Stewart. His numbers since his promotion to AA:

    23 IP, 15 H, 0 HR, 6 BB, 22 K, 2.31 GO/FO, 0.39 ERA.

    Combined numbers between Sarasota and Carolina:

    65.1 IP, 62 H, 1 HR, 14 BB, 54 K, 2.38 GO/FO, 1.52 ERA

    And really, those numbers are a bit deceiving. He gave up a bunch of hits and didn't really strikeout many hitters in his first few starts as he was stretching his arm out, but he has continued to get better with each start. The hits are decreasing and the strikeouts are increasing. He's racking up plenty of groundballs and strikeouts and he's efficient with his pitches. In my opinion, he's the best starting pitching prospect in the Reds system as he just edges out Juan Carlos Sulbaran. With a plus fastball and plus slider and improving changeup, he's got a chance to be top-of-rotation starter, IMO.
    I miss Adam Dunn.

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    Re: Zach Stewart - Starting Pitcher?

    I'm encouraged by Stewart, but if he's going to be a starter it may take a while. He only threw 80 innings last year and probably should top out at 110 or so in 2009. That means 140 in 2010 and 170 in 2011. I wouldn't let him start in the big leagues until he completed that progression. With Burton struggling, Weathers aging and not signed beyond 2009 and Cordero an expensive piece who has a no trade that expires after the season, maybe Stewart could best help the Reds as a late inning guy for 2010. After the season the Reds should be shopping Cordero and trying to reinvest that money into Votto, Volquez, Cueto and Bruce as they start to get a little more expensive. I like the Reds minor league bullpen depth, but don't really consider any of Roenicke, Fisher, Viola or Manual a candidate to replace Cordero. Stewart could be the guy with those others pitching in front of him.
    Last edited by mth123; 05-23-2009 at 01:08 PM.
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