Friday, August 19, 2016

Big Z, Little Z - What Begins With Z?

John Lackey's shoulder has been barking (much like his mouth does on the mound) and his next start is going to be skipped in order to prevent injury; after all, the Cubs have a huge division lead and rest is more important than anything right now.  As such, Mike Montgomery will be making a spot start this weekend, with Trevor Cahill scheduled to fill in for more innings after Mike.  Considering the bullpen has already been fairly-heavily taxed lately, the Cubs wanted to add a little relief for their relievers.

Enter the Zizzer-Zazzer-Zastryzny.

Rob Zastryzny has been called up from AAA-Iowa in order to fill in.  The lefty has been pitching exceptionally well of late at Iowa (29.6% K rate since July 1) and is capable of going multiple innings, if need be.  Also, fun fact - the former second-rounder is the first pitching prospect drafted by the Theo Epstein regime to make it to the Major Leagues.

It's easy to forget with the constant stream of blue chip position players coming up and succeeding that pitching hasn't been a strong point for this organization.

Behold Z's only mainstream baseball card - 2013 Panini Prizm Draft Picks.  Hopefully the guy sticks around long enough to earn a spot in another set's checklist because Prizm is and always has been quite ugly.

However, Rob Zastryzny won't be traveling from Des Moines to Colorado (what a place for pitchers to make their MLB debut) alone.  Word trickled out late last night that the Cubs would in fact be purchasing the contract of, not one, but two hurlers from the minors in order to inject a little bit of fresh blood into the bullpen.  Coming along with Rob is another fairly unheralded prospect with a much easier name to pronounce:  Felix Pena.

Unfortunately, I was not prepared to add Pena to my CATRC binder, so this scan from GoSportsCards will have to do for now until I can track down a reasonably priced copy of one of his minor league cards, or if anybody happens to have one for trade.  Like I said, Felix has been unheralded and thus has never been included in a mainstream release.

Here's hoping my recently-ended Lendy Castillo saga isn't about to repeat itself. 

Anyway, back to the subject at hand, Pena has been pitching out of the pen for the I-Cubs this season, posting a 3.41 ERA and a 31.6% strikeout rate.  By all accounts, he’s got a big league caliber bullpen arm, but he has a tendency to lose command.  Will he be able to harness his powers, a la Carl Edwards in 2016?  We shall see.

One thing is for sure with these moves, between the new guy Rob Zastryzny and fourth outfielder/pinch hitter extraordinaire Matt Szczur, the Cubs certainly have the market cornered on players with too many Z's in their last names.  I wonder if the Cubs clubhouse attendant even has enough to keep up with the jerseys.

Welcome to the Show and my CATRC (well, soon enough for Felix anyway) newbies - good luck!


  1. Zastryzny

    Man, that's a lot of Z's ;)

    1. Man, I totally forgot about those guys - also, Ruzzell

  2. Zastryzny is also in that Daytona Cubs set. Pena is in the Smokies set from last year. Let me see if I have extras.

    1. If you do, I'll definitely make it worth your while in trade!

  3. Hopefully he can control his temper a little better than the last Big Z the Cubs had.