Signed in the 2021 offseason, Zack Weiss joined the Los Angeles Angels on a Minor League contract and was assigned to the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees. After spending the bulk of his season in the minors he was called up late in the year for his first taste of big-league action since 2018.
The former 6th-round pick of the Cincinnati Reds in the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft progressed through their farm system but was released in 2018 after a short cup of coffee outing in MLB. Stops in Minnesota, Cleveland, and Seattle with the Mariners, led him to the Angels prior to the 2022 season.
Being an older prospect without much expectation meant his ceiling wasn’t as high as a top arm, and his 4.50 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 4.20 FIP, and a high walk rate of 3.78 per nine innings were a clear indicator of his troubles. Weiss hadn’t pitched higher than Triple-A since 2018 with the Reds, but because of the Angels’ lack of pitching depth due to injury, he was called up on Sept. 1.
On Sept. 2 against the Houston Astros, Weiss tossed 1.1 shutout innings and rolled that into five straight scoreless appearances to begin his run with the Angels. Notching seven strikeouts to five walks during that stretch did mean he was walking a fine line with his ability to limit scoring damage.
When called upon on Sept. 19 versus the Mariners, Weiss surrendered three earned runs including a home run and two walks, his first rocky outing of the 2022 season. But he rebounded from that, going on another streak of five appearances of no earned runs, this time he struck out seven in that span with free passes allowed.
Featuring a low to mid-90s fastball and a slider, Weiss relying on a clear two-pitch mix could spell some tough outings if both pitches aren’t locked in. But for all of the time he spent with the Bees and other Minor League stops, his 3.38 ERA in 13.1 innings, including nine scoreless outings is something to look back on and use as a big positive for his career.
From Sept. 21 to Oct. 3, Weiss had a five-game stretch highlighted by seven strikeouts, no walks, no earned runs and just two hits allowed. It was by far the best stretch of his MLB career and during 2022, Weiss displayed enough to give the Angels optimism for the future.
Weiss remains in the Angels’ organization and is still a pre-arbitration player, which means the Angels hold long-term team control over the right-hander should they choose to keep him around. The bright spots of his most recent time in MLB can be used as building blocks as he continues to try and stick around in a big league bullpen this upcoming season.
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