Right-handed pitcher Zach Pop is a name to watch as the Rule 5 Draft apporaches with the Pittsburgh Pirates owning the top pick.
The Pittsburgh Pirates will have the first pick in the Rule 5 Draft. Over the weekend, we took a look at a pitcher who the team could potentially take with the first pick. Another pitcher the Pirates could target with the top pick in the draft is Zach Pop.
Pop is a right-handed pitcher from the Baltimore organization. During the 2019 season, Pop pitched in 10.2 innings in eight games for the Double-A Bowie Bay Sox. In these 10.2 innings of work Pop allowed just one run. He walked four batters, struck out 11 and hit a pair.
During the 2019 season Pop was limited to just these 10.2 innings due to injury. In May of 2019 Pop underwent Tommy John surgery. This cost him the rest of his 2019 season, as well as costing him the ability to work at Baltimore’s alternate training site in 2020.
Pop came to the Orioles in 2018 as part of the Manny Machado trade. Prior to being traded by the Dodgers, he owned a 0.33 ERA, 2.94 FIP, 6.2% walk rate, and a 23.7% strikeout rate in 27 innings pitched in 19 games at the High-A level.
After being traded to Baltimore, Pop was moved to Double-A. In his first taste of Double-A ball, Pop posted a 2.53 ERA, 2.77 FIP, 7.4% walk rate, and a 21.0% strikeout rate in 21.1 innings of work in 14 relief appearances.
All in all, Pop has pitched 80.1 minor league innings. In these 80.1 innings, Pop owns a 1.34 ERA and 80 strikeouts. He also has solid control with a lifetime 8.1% walk rate in the minors. He has also allowed just one home run in these 80.1 innings of work.
Prior to his injuries, Pop appeared to be a pitcher that the Orioles thought highly of. A sign of this was the Orioles inviting Pop to their MLB spring training in 2019. If the Orioles did not think highly of Pop, they would not have invited him to MLB spring training.