American Association Rookie of the Year, Saints Pitcher Mike Zouzalik, Headed to Orioles OrganizationST. PAUL, MN September 25, 2015
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION ROOKIE OF THE YEAR, SAINTS PITCHER MIKE ZOUZALIK, HEADED TO ORIOLES ORGANIZATION
ST. PAUL, MN (September 25, 2015) – After one of the more dominant seasons by a St. Paul Saints relief pitcher Mike Zouzalik is being rewarded. The American Association Rookie of the Year has had his contract purchased by the Baltimore Orioles becoming the third player signed by an organization from the Saints this year.
The 25-year-old Zouzalik, who was named the league’s Rookie of the Year on September 8, was an instrumental piece of the back end of the Saints bullpen. Zouzalik posted a 4-1 record with a 2.06 ERA, the lowest of any Saints pitcher this season, and three saves in 39 relief appearances. In 48.0 innings pitched he struck out 49 and opponents hit a miniscule .140 against him. In the playoffs he did not allow a run on three hits in 4.0 innings while striking out two against the Sioux City Explorers.
Zouzalik did not allow a run in his last five regular season appearances and previously did not allow a run while giving up just one hit in six straight appearances from August 8-August 20 over 9.2 innings pitched. Zouzalik logged scoreless outings in 32 of his 39 appearances this season and posted perfect outings in relief, allowing neither runs nor hits, in 22 of his 39 trips to the mound.
"Mike had an excellent season,” said Saints Manager George Tsamis. “We are so happy for him. He was as good as it gets down in the back end of our bullpen. We wish him the best of luck with the Orioles."
Zouzalik was acquired by the Saints this offseason in a trade with Wichita after winning an American Association championship with the Wingnuts last season. Zouzalik posted a 4-0 record with a 3.06 ERA in 47 appearances a season ago with a Wichita team that set a then American Association record 73 wins in a season, surpassed by both St. Paul and the Sioux City Explorers this season with their 74 and 75 win marks respectively.
Previously a farmhand in the Texas Rangers organization, Zouzalik signed as an amateur free agent with his hometown club after reporting to an open tryout in 2013 after finishing his collegiate career at the University of Texas- Pan American. Zouzalik spent one season in the Rangers system, posting an impressive 4-0 record with a 2.41 ERA in 23 appearances across Low-A Spokane and High-A Myrtle Beach. He struck out 27 while walking 14 in 33.2 innings of work.
The Saints have had a total of 117 contracts sold, 111 total players including six who had their contract sold twice. Of the 117 contracts sold eight were sold to international teams and a total of 21 have made it to the ultimate level of baseball following their time with the Saints (Julio DePaula, who played for the Saints in 2011, made it to the Major Leagues in 2014, never pitched in a game, but does not show up on the list below because his contract wasn’t purchased directly from the Saints). During the 2015 off-season the Saints inked two players, who shortly after signing had their contract purchased by Major League organization. While they never played one game for the Saints they were still under contract. RHP Chris Smith signed with the Yankees and LHP Cody Wheeler signed with the Orioles.