With the (still confounding) departure of James Pazos in the Segura trade, the Mariners needed a lefty in the ‘pen, and today have signed that lefty in Zac Rosscup, a 30-year-old who has been a member of four (now five) different MLB organizations, been in pro ball for almost a decade, and yet has never pitched over ~50 innings in one season, partially because hashtag-LOOGYLYFE, and partially because of injuries.
Injuries have been a significant problem for Rosscup, who missed a chunk of time with injury in 2011, 2014, and 2015. His 2015 injury, left shoulder inflammation, would rear its head again in 2016, and he missed the entire 2016 season and some time in April of 2017. Then, a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand (the Denver Post called it a wart) knocked him out from March until June of 2018, and the problem recurred in late July, sending him back to the DL. Then, because that wasn’t enough, he finished up the season with a left calf strain that kept him out for the last week-and-a-half of the 2018 season. So, that’s the bad news.
The good news: when Rosscup was healthy in 2018—all 11.1 innings—he posted a 15.88 K/9. In fact, Rosscup has been a strikeout machine for most of his career, posting a K/9 of 10 or better at almost every stop. He hasn’t pitched a lot, but when he has, he’s [Arby’s voice] got the whiffs:
Highest whiff%, 2017-18— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) December 20, 2018
(Min. 150 opponent swings)
1. Craig Kimbrel 41.4%
2. Zac Rosscup 40.1% **
3. Jose Leclerc 40.0%
4. Josh Hader 38.6%
5. Dellin Betances 37.8%
6. Edwin Diaz 37.3%
**19 total IP https://t.co/CdtVnJrBqW
He’s also got the walks, unfortunately, and will need to curb that tendency to be an effective member of the M’s pitching staff. A flyball pitcher, Rosscup has called the following parks home in the majors: Wrigley, Dodgers Stadium, and Coors. He might find the spacious confines of
Safeco T-Mobile Park more to his liking, and feel the need to nibble less. There’s also reason to believe Rosscup is better than his major league track record suggests: hidden beneath the ungainly 5.21 ERA is a 4.70 FIP and a 3.86 xFIP. DRA likes him too, at 4.28.
Rosscup is a traditional fastball (93 mph) - slider (87 mph) reliever who will attack with his fastball and then use his slider to put away batters or generate weak contact. You might remember him from his immaculate inning when the Dodgers shellacked the Mariners this August:
Nine pitches, nine strikes. Zac Rosscup was immaculate. pic.twitter.com/v8lgHXYnuv— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) August 20, 2018
Also of note: Rosscup, a native of Clackamas, OR, is a Timbers fan, so some of you might need to process that accordingly. He’s also a big gamer, which I suppose comes with the territory for a baseball player who’s been on the DL a lot, and has his xbox name or ID or whatever you call it in his twitter bio, and seems happy to discuss games. No word on if he likes tending to his horse in Red Dead Redemption as much as everyone else on the internet.