It was a long road back to the mound for Zack Weiss. After experiencing discomfort in spring training of 2016 with his elbow, he would miss the entire year. In the middle of the offseason he would undergo ulnar nerve transportation surgery. That would lead to the righty missing the first two months of the 2017 season as well.
Once he was ready to pitch again, the Cincinnati Reds sent Weiss out to join the Daytona Tortugas bullpen. The first game back didn’t go as smoothly as he would have hoped. On May 31st he was charged with two unearned runs. He would strike out the first two batters he faced and then get a ground ball against the third batter. The ball was not fielded by the first baseman cleanly and the inning was extended. The next batter would single in the runner before a pitching change. After exiting the game, the batter who had singled would score, too.
The first half of June was solid for Zack Weiss, but had some inconsistencies. Over five games he allowed three earned runs in 7.2 innings (3.52 ERA). He didn’t walk anyone and had 10 strikeouts. After the All-Star break, Weiss would return for four more appearances in the second half of the month. He threw 4.2 hitless innings with two walks and seven strikeouts. During the month he held hitters to a .473 OPS in nine games. He posted a 2.19 ERA over 12.1 innings with two walks and 17 strikeouts. That earned him a promotion to Double-A Pensacola.
July began on the mound with the Blue Wahoos – the same team Zack Weiss last pitched in a regular season game with before his injury (in 2015). He gave up a run in an inning or work. The next two outings were of the shutout variety before he ran into problems on the 8th. The defense didn’t help the right hander out as he was charged with six unearned runs in 0.2 innings. During the game he walked two batters and allowed three hits. He also didn’t strike anyone out. Over the next three weeks he was dominant, rebounding with 7.0 shutout innings with two walks and nine strikeouts for Pensacola. He picked up a win or a save in each of his six appearances. The month didn’t end on a high note, though. In the final two appearances he allowed three runs. For the month he would post a 2.83 ERA in 12.2 innings with seven walks and 16 strikeouts. The walk rate was a bit higher than you’d like to see, though a majority of those walks came in two outings early in the month.
August got out to a bit of a slow start for Zack Weiss, but not because of production issues. He only pitched twice in the first 10 days of the month, throwing 2.0 shutout innings. On the 11th he had a tough go of things against Mobile, allowing three earned in an inning of work. He would rebound well over the final three weeks of the season. Weiss allowed just two earned runs in 12.1 innings with four walks and 17 strikeouts. In the final five weeks of the year he posted a 2.93 ERA in 15.1 innings with four walks and 21 strikeouts.
For all 2017 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).
Zack Weiss Scouting Report
Fastball | Before the injury, Zack Weiss was sitting 92-95 MPH with his fastball. Since returning he’s been more in the 91-93 MPH range and touching higher. It’s expected for the velocity to improve the further he gets away from the surgery.
Slider | An above-average offering with tight rotation and good biting action.
Curveball | An average offering that works in the mid-to-upper 70’s. It’s his second go-to breaking ball.
Change Up | An average offering that he doesn’t go to as often as his other pitches.
At one point in time, Zack Weiss was inarguably the top relief prospect in the organization. Then he didn’t pitch for nearly a year-and-a-half. He came back in 2017 and pitched well with strong results. The fastball velocity wasn’t quite back to where it was pre-injury. If he can get back that extra tick or two, he could fit in well for a spot in the 7th or 8th inning at the big league level.