Saturday, October 24, 2009

Zack Von Rosenberg

Nineteen year-old RHP Zack Von Rosenberg, 6-5 and 205 pounds, was rated 41st in the 2009 draft pool by Baseball America, even if he was a peach-fuzzed high school kid. The only rub was the Bayou boy was signed to go to his home state school, Louisiana State, and everyone expected him to honor his scholarship.

Still, the Bucs had a wad of draft cash in their pocket thanks to the Tony Sanchez deal, and selected Von Rosenberg in the sixth round as part of their strategy to add some young, upside arms to a system that needed some help badly.

And hey, ZVR let it be known that if they thought enough of him to wave some first-round money under his nose, well, he could always go to night school. They did, and he inked the dotted line on a $1.2M contract in early August. Slot, schlot!

He has all the bona fides. Von Rosenberg led Barbe-Lake Charles High to a state title as a freshman, then pitched Zachary High to three more state crowns - and he started and won all four title games. Oh, and he was selected Mr. Louisiana the past two seasons and was named a 2009 Louisville Slugger High School All-American.

This past season, he went 11-1 with a 0.60 ERA and 141 strikeouts in 91 innings as a scholastic player. On his days off, he played SS and hit .489 with 10 home runs, 28 stolen bases and 45 runs batted in. Heck, he even punted for the football team.

Perfect Game USA had this report on him:
"Von Rosenberg has a tall frame and a good pitchers' build. His arm is loose and smooth and really projects. He showed good mechanics and repeats his delivery well. He topped at 88 (other combines had him hitting 91), but more will be coming. He has good off-speed pitches including a late breaking curveball at 76 mph and a changeup with good fade at 78 mph."
He reported to Bradenton for some evaluation and a little work. The Bucs even managed to squeeze in an inning for him during the GCL season, and he got his first pro K. ZVR is in the Florida instructional league now.

We'd expect to see him start 2010 in State College and move on to West Virginia, and wouldn't be surprised if he landed at Indy sometime in 2012, even though the Pirates aren't quite as aggressive moving pitchers along in the system as position players. The glut they drafted this year may change that philosophy, though.

GW doesn't have Von Rosenberg rated yet; one frame in the Florida sunshine doesn't a prospect make. But we've seen several publications claim that as far as ability and upside, he's already one of the Pirates Top Ten farm hands.

(Tomorrow: Trent Stevenson)


Popps said...

In the interest of full disclosure you all should know I am Zack's Poppa. I know you don't want parents getting on here hard selling their kids. Anyway... you got your facts right in a well written and entertaining article even if it was about my son. Zack has a God given gift and has had a blessed high school career. I hope and pray that he gives you and Pirates Families, Fans, and Friends a whole lot more to write and talk about and be proud of in the near future. Don't tell Zack I was here, he'd be mad. (BTW he was 2 yrs all state as punter.)

WilliamJPellas said...

Nice to see you, Popps! You must be very proud of your son. I'm curious: did you play a lot of sports, yourself? And did you coach your boy while he was growing up?

Interesting angle about his punting. When I was in college many years ago, we had a guy who was both the regular punter on the football team and a starting outfielder on the baseball team. He signed to play pro baseball after college and made it as far as Double A before he hung 'em up. I'd imagine Zack had some Division I offers as a punter? And, did he consider pursuing a pro football career?

Ron Ieraci said...

Popps - Thanks for stopping by; I didn't know Zack was All-State in football, although the two sports go hand-in-hand scholastically. Did the Tigers consider consider two-sporting him, even if he missed spring ball?

Popps said...

This is a test to see if my password works now.

Popps said...

OK it works. I am surprised at your interest and I did not expect I would start a dialog. But to answer your questions, I am proud of all 5 of my boys. Both mom and I were very athletic in multiple sports. I played with Zack and coached him in all sports for as long as I could. Zack has been good at anything competitive and has always been the go to guy with a knack for finding a way or making a way. He loves football but somehow knew his future was in baseball. LSU was interested in him 2 sporting but he would have had to walk on as a sophmore for football.
We enjoyed Pittsbugh's hospitality last June when we came for a visit. We were in awe of how beautiful the city and stadium are. We were thrilled with the intensity and knowledge of the fans. Many came up to Zack already knowing who he was and wanting to talk baseball. The city has changed a lot since I was there as a kid watching Roberto Clemente at old Forbes Field. Did they move home plate from Three Rivers Stadium to PNC Park like they had moved it from Forbes Field to Three Rivers?

Ron Ieraci said...

Popps - You'll discover that Pittsburgh is as hot a football town as any SEC campus, so a gridiron pedigree is a handy thing here.

Forbes Field's old plate is under glass on the floor of Pitt's Posvar Hall, which was the campus expansion project that claimed the Oakland ballyard.

3RS's dish didn't make the move to PNC, but if I recall correctly, there's a brass plaque marking its spot in one of the lots.

Anonymous said...

I met Zach this spring. I am a 62 year old baseball fan. I have never seen him pitch or play sports of any kind. I will say this - he has his head screwed on straight, which is half the battle. I look forward to following him and hopefully seeing his sucess. He is a good kid.

He told me he was going to the Poer May 1 but I don't see him on the roster.


Ron Ieraci said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ron Ieraci said...

It's a little early in the season for them to be moving pitchers around. I'd guess that he's in extended camp now, and will be part of the State College short-season staff that starts up in June, with Zach Dodson and Brooks Pounder.

He could end up in West Virginia sometime during the season, based on performance or as a replacement for someone on the Power roster moving up - or blowing up.

The Pirates don't like to fast track high school players, and Zack didn't get but one inning of GCL work last year as he was a late signee. But he is highly touted, and we'd expect to see him at West Virginia some time this season.