2016 MLB Draft Scouting Report: T.J. Zeuch

By: Burke Granger

T.J. Zeuch – RHP – Pittsburgh. 6’7″ 225.  Class: Junior.  DOB:  August 1, 1995.  Last Drafted:  2013 (Kansas City Royals – 31th Round).

Scouted:  Virginia Cavaliers @ Pittsburgh Panthers, April 30, 2016.  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

2014 was a big year for the University of Pittsburgh.  It was their first in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and it’s when big T.J. Zeuch arrived on campus.  A Mason, Ohio product, Zeuch considered Kentucky, Louisville, and Cincinnati as options to further his eduction before ultimately choosing Pittsburgh.  “When I first came up to Pitt, I kinda just fell in love with the place,” said Zeuch.  “Everything; the coaches, the conference – it’s kind of a home away from home.  I love it here!”

Zeuch started contributing early for the Panthers, making 15 appearances and 9 starts as a freshman.  Earning the Friday role by the end of the season, Zeuch’s season culminated with a pitching battle against Notre Dame’s two-sport star Pat Connauthton in which Zeuch went the distance in the losing effort, producing line of 8IP, 7H, 3R, 1ER, 1BB, 5K.

Entrenched as Pittsburgh’s ace as a sophomore in 2015, Zeuch’s season was highlighted by earning ACC pitcher of the week by getting the win against Nathan Kirby and Virginia, the eventual National Champions in which he struck out 8, while surrendering just 4 hits, 0 runs and 0 walks.

In the Cape Cod League last summer pitching for the Chatham Anglers, Zeuch made 4 starts, striking out 17 and walking 5 over 21.2 innings.

Zeuch missed the first month of his junior season with a groin injury.  “Feels great, 100%” said Zeuch of his groin following his April 30th start.  Now healthy, Zeuch looks to lead Pittsburgh to the ACC tournament after missing out in each of the last two seasons.

STATISTICS

Through June 7, 2016.

YEAR

CLASS

W-L

ERA

G

S

IP

H

K

BB

2014

Fr.

2-6

2.75

15

0

55.2

55

41

17

2015

So.

5-6

3.87

14

0

88.1

95

90

25

2016

Jr.

   6-1    3.10      10       0    69.2      61      74      19

REPERTOIRE:

Fastball:  Zeuch throws a two-seam fastball that sat 93-95 mph comfortably with significant arm-side run.  This late movement gives righties fits and should break bats during his professional career.

Slider:  An out-pitch at 87-88 mph, Zeuch’s slider is his best off-speed offering as it generates swings and misses from righties and lefties alike.

Curveball:  With a  sharp 12-6 break and good depth, Zeuch’s curveball gives him 3 playable pitches at the next level.  Zeuch throws this pitch between 78-80 mph.

Changeup:  An inconsistent offering at 84-86 mph, the development of this pitch will be a key variable in measuring Zeuch’s success as a professional.

Delivery:  Zeuch repeats his delivery well, especially for a big man.  Leveraging his 6’7″ frame and high 3/4 delivery, Zeuch pitches from a downhill plane, creating the illusion that he’s releasing the ball from about 50 feet away from home plate.  He’s not susceptible to the run game.  From the stretch, he’s quick to the plate and he keeps baserunners honest with a good move to first base.  He didn’t follow through as well as he could when I saw him, and while it didn’t affect his ability to keep the ball down, he’s not putting himself in an effective fielding position.

Control/Command:  Zeuch locates his fastball and slider to both sides of the plate.  With quite a bit of movement on the two-seamer, the command is far from pinpoint, but he’s consistently around the plate.

FUTURE:  When asked if he thinks about the draft, Zeuch replied, “I ignore it.  I mean, you hear things all the time, but no one knows what will happen until draft day.”  He’s right, but the uncertainty won’t last much longer.  Zeuch was head to head with first round prospect Connor Jones of Virginia when I saw him.  Based on pure stuff, I think Zeuch has a higher ceiling than Jones, though he’s not as polished.  That shouldn’t be terribly surprising since Jones was a first round candidate out of high school who pitched in Omaha last season.  Zeuch has an electric arm and the makings of at least 3 average or better pitches.  Climbing up industry draft boards of late, Zeuch could be a first rounder in June.

DISCLAIMER:  It’s important to note that I’m not a formally trained scout.  I don’t have the training or expertise that they do.  I do however actually go to see these guys play live, which is more than you’ll get from many online “Scouting Reports”.  I also talk to scouts when I’m there.  While scouts reserve their reports for their employer, I can share my thoughts with you, the reader.

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3 thoughts on “2016 MLB Draft Scouting Report: T.J. Zeuch

  1. Pingback: Live Blogging the 2016 MLB Draft | Prospect Junkies

  2. Pingback: Emeralds Embarrass C’s | Niall On Baseball

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