ZACH STEWART
RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
Born: September 28, 1986
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 205
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Drafted: 3rd round, 84th overall, 2008 (Reds)
How Acquired: Trade from Red Sox (for Kyle Kaminska)
College: Texas Tech University
Agent: Gaylord Sports Management

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES

At the time the Reds drafted Stewart, he featured a 93-96 mph sinking fastball and a sharp slider.  Originally a closer in college, he moved to his team’s rotation when its staff fell apart.  As a pro, he initially pitched in relief but soon shifted to starting.  Over time he’s lost velocity and now throws in the upper 80s or low 90s.  He also throws a slider, curve and change. He’s a strong groundball pitcher, but like a lot of groundball specialists has been hurt by high BABIPs, .350 for his major league career.

2008
A:  1-2-3, 0.55 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 16.1 IP, 1.7 BB/9, 7.2 K/9
A+:  0-2-2, 1.62 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 16.2 IP, 5.9 BB/9, 12.4 K/9 

Stewart got into 24 games after being drafted, all in relief.  He got very good results in low A but struggled with his control in high A.  Baseball America ranked him as the Reds 15th best prospect after the season and opined that he could reach the majors quickly as a reliever.

2009
A+ (Cinn):  1-1-0, 2.13 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 42.1 IP, 1.7 BB/9, 6.8 K/9
AA (Cinn):  3-0-0, 1.46 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 37.0 IP, 2.4 BB/9, 7.5 K/9
AAA (Cinn):  0-0-2, 0.73 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 12.1 IP, 5.8 BB/9, 11.7 K/9
AAA (Tor):  0-0-0, 3.38 ERA, 1.80 WHIP, 13.1 IP, 4.0 BB/9, 9.4 K/9 

The Reds moved Stewart to the rotation and he shot through their system, making seven starts each in high A and AA before moving to the bullpen in AAA.  The Reds shipped him to Toronto at the trade deadline and he continued to pitch in relief.  At all levels, his peripherals were less imposing than his ERAs.  He had more hits allowed than innings pitched in high A, and had low K rates at both high A and AA.  In AAA he fanned a lot more batters, but had control problems and allowed a lot of baserunners.  Nevertheless, BA ranked him as Toronto’s top prospect after the season.

2010
AA:  8-3-0, 3.63 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 136.1 IP, 3.6 BB/9, 7.0 K/9

Toronto sent Stewart back to AA, where he spent the season in the rotation.  He posted a solid ERA, but just decent secondary numbers.  After allowing just three HRs in his first two seasons, he allowed 13.

2011
AA (Tor):  5-5-0, 4.20 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 100.2 IP, 2.4 BB/9, 7.1 K/9
AAA (CWS):  0-1-0, 4.26 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 6.1 IP, 0.0 BB/9, 7.1 K/9
MLB (Tor):  0-1-0, 4.86 ERA, 1.86 WHIP, 16.2 IP, 2.7 BB/9, 5.4 K/9
MLB (CWS): 2-5-0, 6.22 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 50.2 IP, 2.3 BB/9, 6.2 K/9

Toronto sent Stewart back to AA again and he regressed.  The Jays nevertheless called him up for three June starts.  He got traded at the deadline again, this time going to the White Sox.  With the exception of one AAA start, he stayed in the majors with the Sox, spending much of the last two months in their rotation.  Other than good control, he didn’t put up impressive numbers at any stop.

2012
AAA (Bos):  3-5-0, 3.94 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 59.1 IP, 2.1 BB/9, 6.4 K/9
MLB (CWS):  1-2-0, 6.00 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 30.0 IP, 1.2 BB/9, 4.8 K/9
MLB (Bos):  0-2-0, 22.24 ERA, 3.00 WHIP, 5.2 IP, 0.0 BB/9, 4.8 K/9 

Stewart spent the first half of the season in the White Sox bullpen, except for one start, and continued to get hit hard.  In June the White Sox included him in the Kevin Youkilis trade with Boston.  Except for two ill-fated major league starts, he spent the rest of the season in the AAA rotation, putting up his best numbers at that level.

Despite the high prospect rankings for several years, Stewart hasn’t produced especially good results.  It’s hard to see him as more than AAA depth, but the Pirates are obsessed with groundball pitchers who don’t miss bats, despite the fact that they’ve had very limited success with that demographic.  They could try him in relief to see whether his stuff plays better in short stretches.

UPDATE:  The Pirates designated Stewart for assignment in January to create roster space for Jeff Karstens.  Given his struggles at the upper levels, he may clear waivers.

STATS
Baseball Reference–Majors
Baseball Reference–Minors
Fangraphs
MLB.com
MiLB.com
CONTRACT INFORMATION
2013: Major league minimum
2012: $481,500
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: $450,000
MiLB Debut: 2008
MLB Debut: 6/16/2011
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2018
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 6/14/11
Options Remaining: 1 (USED:  2011, 2012)
MLB Service Time: 0.158
TRANSACTIONS
June 5, 2008: Drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 3rd round, 84th overall pick; signed on June 8.
July 31, 2009: Traded by the Cincinnati Reds with Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Roenicke to the Toronto Blue Jays for Scott Rolen.
June 14, 2011: Contract purchased by the Toronto Blue Jays.
July 27, 2011: 
Traded by the Toronto Blue Jays with Jason Frasor to the Chicago White Sox for Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen.
June 24, 2012: Traded by the Chicago White Sox with Brent Lillibridge to the Boston Red Sox for Kevin Youkilis and cash.
November 20, 2012: Designated for assignment by the Boston Red Sox.
November 28, 2012: Traded by the Boston Red Sox to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a player to be named later; Kyle Kaminska named as PTBNL on December 6.
January 17, 2012: Designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates.