Veteran lefty Rob Zastryzny is struggling mightily out of the bullpen and it's time for the Pittsburgh Pirates to move on
Entering the season expectations were not high for the Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen. However, through the first 66 games of the season the Pirate bullpen has been a strength. In fact, through the first two and a half months of the season their bullpen has been one of the best in the National League.
David Bednar is putting together another dominant All-Star caliber season. Jose Hernandez and Dauri Moreta are putting together breakout seasons as reliable high-leverage arms. Yohan Ramirez has taken a big step forward, and Colin Holderman has been solid.
Unsung and overlooked bullpen arms such as Angel Perdomo and Yerry De Los Santos have been reliable when called upon as well. However, not every Pirate reliever has had success this season. One of the relievers that have struggled is lefty Rob Zastryzny.
Zastryzny surprisngly started the season on the MLB roster, with injuries being a big reason why. An injury of his own led to him spending time on the injury list for a big chunk of May. Through all of that, Zastryzny has pitched 16 innings in the majors this season.
In those 16 innings Zastryzny has been a liability for the Pirates. Zastryzny owns a 5.63 ERA and a 5.03 FIP. He's allowed 19 hits, walked 16.3% of batters faced, and struck out just 15.0% of opposing batters.
Zastryzny has also struggled with limiting quality contact. Opposing batters own a 41.8% hard-hit rate, 7.3% barrel rate, and an average exit velocity of 88.3 MPH against Zastryzny. While his exit velocity is right at league average, the other two are above league average.
At this point Zastryzny is providing nothing positive to the Pirate bullpen. Plus, now that Perdomo has joined Hernandez in the bullpen Derek Shleton has two lefties to work with lessening the need for Zastryzny even further.
With him out of minor league options it is time for the Pirates to designated Zastryzny for assignment. They can not allow him to continue to remain on the roster and hurt the team, especially with the Pirates sitting in first place in the NL Central.