Sam Dykstra over at MiLB.com released the unofficial mid season MiLBYs. Fortunately for all you Diamondbacks fans out there, the light at the end of the tunnel is getting a little larger. The mid season MiLBY for Top Relief Pitcher went to Zac Curtis of the Kane County Cougars.
In case any of you read last week’s Farm Report, you would have read about the future of the Diamondbacks being bright due to the quality of youngsters being stockpiled in the minors over the last few years. Add Zac Curtis to that list.
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Curtis currently has 21 saves (19 at the time the award was given out). He has 52 strikeouts and only 9 walks through his 36.2 innings of work. With an ERA of 1.47, WHIP of 0.87, and only giving up two home runs, he has been lights out for the Cougars. Curtis has shown more than just good statistics though. He was a record of 3-3 on the season as well as his 21 saves. Interestingly, two of those loses came in his first eight appearances this season, and neither were in save situations. He has two blown saves, but one of them he actually received the win (gave up the tying unearned run in his third of the eighth inning, but his team scored in the top of the final inning, in which he pitched the entire bottom for the win).
The kid shows some moxie out there on the mound. And for Diamondbacks fans, it is going to be fun when this minor league pitcher gets the call in the future. He was a sixth rounder in 2014 (the same draft as recently traded Touki Toussaint and fellow lefty Cody Reed) and boasted 136 strikeouts in 114 innings during his senior season at Middle Tennessee State. In college, he was a starter and in his senior season he was considered the ace of the staff.
What scouts liked the most was that he was a pitcher and not just a thrower. He has three pitches that all project as above average, his best being his slider which is frequently described as hard and biting. The knock on him though is he stands a towering 5’9″ of slenderness. He gets compared to Kansas City Royals reliever Tim Collins because of his size, which is the main reason he was pushed to the bullpen as most scouts predicted.
The kid is good and dropped in the draft due to size concerns. Barring an unfortunate setback, he will be in Phoenix sooner rather than later, so keep tabs on him. Congratulations Zac on the informal award!