2016 began on a good note for Zack Weiss. The Cincinnati Reds invited the right handed pitcher to big league spring training and he made it into two games, throwing 3.0 innings with a walk and two strikeouts. Then he started feeling something in his elbow.

When I talked with him late in spring training things didn’t seem serious and he told me that he was only expecting to miss a few weeks before joining a team in the minor leagues. That didn’t happen. When we spoke again late in April he was still rehabbing, said things were coming along and that he hoped it wouldn’t be much longer.

It never came to be and the top reliever in the Reds system entering the year never threw a pitch in the 2016 season. When speaking to the Reds after the season they were hopeful that he would be healthy and ready to go in spring training, noting that he just never felt right during the season.

It is a lost season for sure, but he never had surgery even if he never was able to “get right”. That’s a small victory of sorts in a season that was full of bad news.

For all 2017 Prospect Ranking Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out one per weekday over the offseason).

Zack Weiss Scouting Report

Below is the scouting report from after the 2015 season, when Zack Weiss was completely healthy.

Fastball | The pitch works in the 92-94 MPH range and touches 96 MPH. Not only does it show above-average velocity it’s got sink and armside run as well.

Slider | An above-average offering that works in the mid 80’s. It’s a hardslider that bites downward.

Curveball | The second breaking ball for Weiss is an average offering with two plane breaking action that works in the mid-to-upper 70’s.

Change Up | A fringe-average offering that works in the mid 80’s. He sells it well with his arm action, but it doesn’t have too much movement on it.

Weiss relies more on his fastball and slider combination, but will work in his curveball and change up on certain nights, giving hitters a lot to think about from a reliever. His fastball plays up due to the movement he generates to go along with his velocity. While his lack of plus velocity may suggest he’s more of an 8th inning guy than a closer, he misses a lot of bats and has control that could give him a chance to earn the closer role in the future at the big league level.

There is obviously some risk here given how his 2016 played out on the health front. When healthy, Weiss is polished, near big league ready and shows plenty of stuff. If he’s back to full health in 2017 expect to see him in the big leagues rather quickly.

17 Responses

  1. HavaKlu

    It’s pretty obvious from comparing the Rule 5 picks with the pre-draft reviews that no one—Baseball America, Doug Gray or me—-know what the ML organizations are going to do. Of the 84 previewed players by Baseball America only 12 were picked to include the AAA picks and only 2 of their highlighted 12 elite prospects ( Webb and Haley). Of Doug’s possible Reds picks 1 of his 11 possible pitchers and 0 of his 9 hitters. As for me—–I just knew that Guillon and Chacin would be picked. So much for predictions!

    • Doug Gray

      As I said on twitter – teams do weird things when the Rule 5 comes around.

      Let me profile two pitchers for you:

      Player A: 29.1 innings, 1.84 ERA with 17 walks and 26 strikeouts in AA. Missed the majority of the season with a torn oblique muscle. Sits low 90’s touches 95, rough mechanics, average secondary stuff.
      Player B: 46.2 innings, 2.70 ERA with 15 walks and 32 strikeouts in AA. Went to the AFL, averaged 96 MPH, topped out at 99, huge groundball rates, average secondary stuff.

      Player A was picked. Player B stayed with the Reds.

      I don’t know about you, but looking at the profiles for each, I’d take the guy that throws harder, throws more strikes and is a groundball machine. It’s also not as if he didn’t have some success in Double-A either…. this wasn’t a guy getting the job done in A-ball. I’d feel far more confident that a guy like this could stick on a big league roster, and actually perform, over the next 2-3 years, than several players that were taken on Thursday morning.

      The Rule 5 is one of those weird things where a lot of teams make decisions that “we” don’t get. It’s definitely worth noting that “we” spend a lot more time on the Rule 5 than teams do. I heard someone say that teams don’t really start pouring over Rule 5 options until Tuesday or Wednesday. And yes, while they’ve all got their database full of scouting reports on guys from other teams, it’s certainly strange to hear them say that.

  2. Dave

    Given that the Reds lost none in the major league phase of Rule 5 draft, it seems like the guys that were candidates for being taken should all get invites to spring training. It’s time for the Reds to force feed some of these kids and find out who is worth keeping. I don’t care to watch the Reds lose, but I have no confidence that they will turn it around this year. Let’s take a look at as many of these kids as we can.

    • Greenfield Red

      My concern is that the rebuild is/was not complete. I’m looking for proof that the ownership and front office are really trying to build a winner. Vladimir Gutierrez is one nice clue, but we need more. If the Reds are truly trying to build through the farm, there needs to be more quality pieces there. As good as the Reds farm looks, and as good as the young players now on the ML roster look, they’re only middle of the pack when compared to the 29 other teams. When you consider that they won’t be big players in the ML free agent market, they have to be all in on the farm if they are going to compete for another world Series.

      The Reds are frozen out of the top international talent for 2 years starting next July. They need to get at least one of the 2 remaining top quality pitchers. One of them would help significantly. Both, when combined with another good draft in 2017, would put the Reds well within the top group of teams farm systems… in my opinion.

      • Greenfield Red

        Several gramatic mistakes in my rant. Sorry I didn’t proof read.

      • KyWilson1

        Just my opinion….. the Reds always seem late to the party. Boston/Chicago/NY/LA all went out and abused the last international rules, just hoarding prospects and paying the fines. The Reds finally exceed their limit this year on a crappy SS, still don’t go all in and sign 5-6 of the biggest international FA’s, and then get slapped with a 2 year hard cap on spending. Our front office just always seems to be a step or two behind the teams that win consistently.

      • Doug Gray

        The Reds don’t have Boston/Chicago/NY/LA money…. so that is a tough comparison. But, I do think they messed up with paying so much for Rodriguez.

        I’ve said it before – but that’s the kind of signing that eventually gets someone fired if he doesn’t work out.

      • Chris v

        I get that he’s not the best prospect available but to continue to talk about him like he’s a bum and to give up on him before he even makes it into a game in the states is crazy to me. He was ranked 7th and yet he’s talked about on this site like he’s some random guy that no one thought highly of but the Reds front office. Maybe they paid too much maybe they didn’t we all know international signings can’t be compared so why don’t we just give the kid a chance now.

      • KyWilson1

        They don’t have the same money as those large market teams, which is why they need to be smarter and work the systems in place to their advantage. The Pirates went out the year before the last draft rules changed and signed a tons of players over slot just to get the talent in their system. It was the Taillon draft I believe. The Reds never seem to know how to work the systems in place in their favor. They could’ve gone out and spent 15-20 million (with penalties included) every other year on the international market, they chose not to until this year. Now the cubs and red sox who did, have tons of foreign talent from doing that to trade or build around.

      • Alex Whitehead

        The international pool is full of talented players but also alot of players who have zero plate discpline (you don’t “walk” off the island as they say. Also players who don’t havent been seen a ton by large groups of evaluators. It’s also hard to quantify competition. The Cuban is no where near as good as it was a decade ago cause we have been taking the best players.

  3. Bradkon21

    Doug, great timing waiting to release Weiss’ profile until after Rule 5 draft. Real vet move.

    Hope Reds can sign Norge Ruiz. Sounds like a Traveiso-type. If both end up in rotation OR bullpen, its a plus.

  4. Bill

    I recall reading that Norge Ruiz was playing in the Domincan winter league. Has anyone seen stats or a report on him during the off-season?