Hey guys, one of the benefits of having a site like this the people you meet, either at the games or through social media. One such person is Dan Victor. (on Twitter @slydanno70). Dan goes to a lot of Sally games on the East side. A lot of Kannapolis but also Greensboro, Hickory and Charleston. Him and I have been chatting on Twitter for the last month or so basically comparing notes on players. I trust his eyes and he’s an all around good dude. He’s going to do some guest writing and he’ll be a nice addition to the site. So a big welcome for Dan Victor and give him a follow on Twitter.
Scouting Seby Zavala, by Dan Victor
Unlike some of the other teams in the SALLY league, the Kannapolis Intimidators aren’t sitting on a dearth of fast movers and potential major league impact players. However, having had the opportunity to watch them several times this season there are some intriguing prospects to tag and follow. One such player is catcher Seby Zavala. Zavala was a 12th round pick in the 2015 draft out of San Diego State University where he played under the tutelage of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn. At SDSU Zavala caught, played third base, and spent some time in the outfield. He redshirted for one season after tearing his UCL and going under the knife for Tommy John surgery.
In 2015 as a 21 year old, Zavala laid waste to AZL pitching to the tune of a .326 avg and 1.029 OPS, exhibiting a penchant to hit for extra bases and work the count. For the Intimidators in 2016 he brings that same skill set to the table. He is the field general and cleanup hitter who has shown a propensity to battle against tough pitchers while waiting for a pitch to square up. The last two nights he has faced off against Dillon Tate #4 overall pick for the Texas Ranger in 2015 and Peter Fairbanks who sported a solid fastball curveball combination and a delivery that can best be described as “Sidd Finch like”. The two game batting line for Zavala doesn’t tell the entire story as he went 0-5 with 3 walks and one strikeout. Zavala made solid contact on his outs, made the pitchers work to get him, and looked like he just missed tallying hits in at least two of those at bats. His approach is excellent as he waits for the pitch he can drive, even when down 0-2 in the count against Tate he didn’t fall victim to his best pitch, the slider which was regaled as one of the best in the 2015 draft. Zavala is listed at 5’11” 205, but he looks to me like he is probably 10-15 pounds lighter than that. His swing generates a lot of loft and he is willing to hit pitches to the opposite field.
Defensively, he sports soft hands and very efficient footwork. For a guy that was considered to be a work in progress at catcher he excels defensively. His throwing arm is viewed by professional scouts as slightly below average which I assume is a byproduct of the Tommy John surgery of 2012. However, his ultra-efficient pop-step-throw mechanics and laser like accuracy have allowed him to devastate his opponents running game. Thus far he has nailed would-be base stealers at a 37% clip. He is a very perceptive player and is not afraid to throw to catch runners off guard at first base which he did in back to back games against Greenville and Hickory earlier in the week, and he nearly caught a runner leaning off of second last night. From the multiple games that I have observed his baseball IQ is stellar. Zavala was recently selected as a SALLY league all-star and is a name for White Sox fans to keep an eye on. I look forward to watching him grow as a player and feel like he is only going to continue to improve. The professional scouts profile Zavala as a major league backup. From my vantage point I see more. There are some questions, but there is an awful lot to like here and there will always be an organization willing to develop a cerebral, athletic catcher who can stymie an opponent’s running game and bring the occasional thunder with his bat.
Here we get a few good looks at Zavala’s swing courtesy of Kim Contreras (Future Sox)
About the author: Daniel Victor is an amateur baseball writer who possesses an insatiable thirst for knowledge. Hailing from northwest Indiana, he grew up in the fandom of the White Sox and Cubs. In addition to a 50 grade writing tool, he considers himself lucky to have an 80 grade wife that supports his dreams and aspirations. He can be followed on twitter @slydanno70