The former high school pitcher from Staunton who also pitched for George Mason University, was one of 15 minor league players invited to major league spring training by the Tampa Bay Rays. Although the release of names was just made official this week, Zombie said he's known since early January that he would most likely be invited.
Zombie, who has also pitched for the Staunton Braves, was named Tampa Bay's minor league reliever of the year last fall following a successful summer in the Rays' farm system. For the most part last summer Zombie pitched for the Montgomery Biscuits in AA ball, but he had some innings in AAA Durham.
Zombie has gone from being an drafted free agent signee with Tampa in 2017 to the chance to participate in spring training with the Rays this year. And even if he doesn't end up in the majors this summer, the experience will only help him as he continues to chase his dream.
Just in a few conversations with Kyle Snyder, Tampa's pitching coach, Zombie said he's gotten valuable information. They lay out a pretty clear path for me as to how they visualize me impacting the big leagues.
TylerZombro was named the minor league relief pitcher of the year in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. Zombie is a 2013 graduate of Robert E. Lee High School, where he played baseball and basketball.
He then pitched at George Mason University and, in June 2017, the righty signed a free agent deal with Tampa Bay. Zombie, who also played for the Staunton Braves in the Valley Baseball League, pitched in both AA and AAA for the Rays' organization this past summer.
“Everything he's ever done he's worked hard for it and earned it on his own,” said George Lease, who coached Zombie in high school. Zombie did get a short stay in the Rays' AAA team in Durham where he pitched five innings over four games.
Cox said that, at the time, he didn't have the velocity that might draw major league attention, but he knew how to get guys out. The minor league honorees were recognized prior to Monday’s Rays game against the Red Sox.
“I went outside and called him back, and he said he spoke with the front office this morning and found out there's a shortage of pitchers. “Sunday afternoon I have to meet with one of their representatives and from there I'm going straight to the complex to sign,” said Zombie of the anticipation of inking a professional contract.
Signing that piece of paper will just kind of be the icing on the cake and going into pro ball I have to keep the same mentality of the process over outcome mindset.” Zombie is Mason's all-time leader in starts (55) and innings pitched (318.1) and ranks tied for second in wins (23) and he reflected back on the last four years.
“The opportunity to play professional baseball is a tribute to his ability, tireless work ethic and love for the game. A three-time Provost Scholar Athlete, he was also selected to the Valid All-Academic Team three times during his Mason career.
Tyler Zombie Stats, Highlights, Bio | MiLB.com Stats | The Official Site of Minor League Baseball Skip to main content He’d wriggled out of the jam he created to close out the Rays’ 5-2 Tuesday win over the Braves, recording his first save in a major-league spring training game.
That’s a noteworthy achievement for any major-leaguer in his first big-league camp, even more so for one who had signed as a non-drafted free agent and spent most of last season at Double-A Montgomery. The videos on his screen weren’t the latest Netflix drama, but clips of University of Virginia pitchers, accompanied by detailed data downloads of their pitches and biomechanics.
Zombie watches, reads, references past reports and interprets all kinds of advanced data in formulating their weekly training programs, at times using nerdy-sounding phrases such as “daily mobility/stability correctives,” “throwing patterning work” and axis shifting. Even more interestingly, and somewhat unusually, Zombie also provides ongoing instruction, counsel and deep-dive data interpretation for other pros.
McWilliams spent enough time with Zombie in Montgomery last season to be impressed with his knowledge, manner and ability to make complex data understandable and applicable. And to be certain the transition from teammate to trainer would be fine, unconcerned over any awkwardness, such as how they could someday be competing for a job.
He headed to R&D after the season so Zombie and crew could watch him throw and do a full high-tech analysis to develop an off season program for him. He helped Driscoll with his throwing and swing, identifying movement patterns and recommending drills.
He finished his senior season as one of the best pitchers in George Mason history, but saw 1,215 others players taken in the June 2017 draft and figured it was time to go to work. He had studied biomechanics and physical therapy, which he’d always had an interest in, and planned to go to PT school when he got the chance to turn a part-time job at R&D, where he’d trained for years, into a full-time gig.
A month later, the Rays called, needing a pitcher to cover some innings at the lowest levels of the minors, with no further promises. Unsure how long he’d last in pro ball, and knowing he wouldn’t make much money, Zombie made arrangements to keep his other job as well.
Zombie was good enough in 2018 at Class A Bowling Green (8-2, 2.84, with 54 strikeouts and only eight walks in 76 innings), that the Rays skipped him straight to Montgomery last year. He clearly helped himself, applying the analytical data to increase his number of swings-and-misses and improve the movement on his slider and change-up.
The Rays have reached minor-league agreements with righties Brooks Founders and Deck McGuire, as Marc Top kin of the Tampa Bay Times was among those to report on Twitter. He has allowed 43 earned runs and 14 long balls through 45 2/3 innings over the past four campaigns, though he also carries a much more promising 47:12 K/BB ratio.
The 2020 baseball season is about to start and in unexpected news, the Tampa Bay Rays are making some last minute changes to the team’s structure and ownership. The new owner, Charlie Jackson, decided to purchase the Tampa Bay Rays after the current owners kept trying to move the Rays out of the St. Pete/Tampa area, even trying to split time in Montreal.
Jackson has vowed to continue the franchise in the St. Pete/Tampa area, but will not be making any changes to the team’s practice of operating on a budget. In fact, in his opening press conference, he said the team would likely not be taking on any new money in contracts, trades, or free agency.
He was enacting a moratorium on all spending unless he authorized it, and he would not be signing off on any new player contracts. To make sure this happens and that there is no disconnect between ownership and baseball staff, Jackson has named himself the new GM also.
So Rays fans get a team committed to the area, but the purse strings won’t be loosened. Given how successful the Rays have been in the toughest division in baseball, this comes as a surprise to everyone, even those associated with the team.
Jackson will have unilateral control over all baseball operations and have the authority to make almost any change to the team, structure, and philosophy. It’s also been rumored that he has had many a conversation with Kevin Cash (manager) about lineups, rotations, and defensive shifts.
During the announcement of the change, it was noted that all baseball team staff (manager, pitching coach etc.) The Rays typically operate with a small payroll and aim to compete on the margins by drafting well, signing low level players at cheap prices, growing them into everyday players and then trading them for prospects.
The team relies heavily on its scouting and analytics departments to pull this off. To strengthen this small advantage, Johnson signed an all new scouting department, trying to capitalize on their player development, analytics and identification edge.
They know they can’t compete in terms of sheer dollars and that they can generally only get impact players through trades or by signing them as prospects and developing them. This has earned them a trip to the World Series and several other playoff berths, all while maintaining one of the lowest payrolls in the MLB.
Missing on one trade or one prospect could set the team back years as the struggle to maintain relevancy. Normally, GMS get to construct their own teams and pipelines, but with the move being made so late in the off season, Johnson won’t have the chance to make any changes to the roster.
Johnson’s only real influence may be to reduce the budget in Spring Training and bring on a few players, but no major overhauls. He has his eyes set on reducing the budget hopefully bolstering the best farm system in baseball.
This means scouring the free agency pool for high potential prospects at low costs. No prospects will be signed unless they qualify for a Mile deal and are under team control for 6 years.
Any move(s) I make now, or in the future will be to strengthen the team as they would in real life. The Rays are supposed to have the #1 farm system in the league, but the rosters don’t quite reflect that.
Rather than mess with ratings (other than Wander), I will be making changes to the minors using existing players in game, generally only free agents. I won’t be spending ridiculous amounts of money and will be looking to move established players for prospects, like the Rays really do.
I have a heavy sports background and also am fortunate to work in the financial industry, which led me to start evaluating the franchise and looking for a good place to jump in. I suffered with the team and community only to be completely blown away when things changed.
And while I don’t agree with the view of the team that ownership had, their philosophy produced results. With all this success, and the rumors of the team moving, I felt someone needed to step in and save baseball in Tampa.
I’ll touch on the broader points, and we can cover the rest in later sessions. I want to drive fan involvement and truly build a team with a connection to the area.
Yes we will try to find a new stadium or improve the Top, but we will not be moving to Montreal, Oklahoma, Lakeland or anywhere else that’s not in the Bay Area. We will not turn into a budget powerhouse or spend money like the financial all stars in New York, Chicago, Boston etc.
Our margin of error is small, but it’s based on information and scouting, not finances. R: That makes sense, and it’s an approach that can be adjusted from within, without relying on public funding or merchandise sales.
But the tough part is having homegrown heroes like David Price, Evan Mongolia, Will Myers etc. Loyalty to a player may lose us the chance to upgrade our team in the long run.
We are here to stay, and I believe that one day, the World Series will be hosted in the Top with the Rays holding the trophy at the end of it. Quote: Originally Posted by TwelveozPlaya21 add worthless Xavier Lee to that list.
I updated all 40 man rosters, took out injuries and added prospects from the Vault to create my own hybrid set. But the Rays aren’t a great hitting franchise, so it works out, I guess.
The first target is Alonso Parnell, a young closer with great tools, and according to our new scouts, high potential. He has no chance to sniff the MLB roster if he were to be signed, but he appears to be a huge upgrade over the AAA and AA closer, Sanders and Zombie.
Nothing has been finalized, but we can definitely report heavy interest on both sides. The other prospect is international sensation Oscar Colas. The Rays currently have 2 two-way players and want to add as many as possible as it gives them more roster flexibility, key for a small-budget club.
Colas’ agent is reporting the deal as done, but the Rays currently are restricted as their roster is full. No moves have been made, yet, but it appears that the Rays may be welcoming two new players to the team.
Notes: I only considered those players who could be signed to a Mile contract and that weren’t part of an existing team. Alonso Parnell didn’t show up on any current team’s roster (that I could find) and Oscar Colas won’t sign until the international period, but as of now he is not tied down.
On the eve of Spring Training, The Rays and new owner/GM Charlie Johnson have made a few moves that should bolster an already strong farm system. The Rays were able to accomplish their goals of cutting the budget and strengthening the minor league ranks.
The Rays had no need for these two players that were overpaid for what they meant for to the Tampa team. John Curtis's (RP, 26 years old, 55 OR, B potential, $510k) and Ryan Sheriff (RP, 29 years old, 49 OR, B potential, $550k) were moved within the division to the Boston Red Sox for Mike Kick ham (RP, 30 years old, 50 OR, C potential, no salary).
The Red Sox absorbed the cost and slightly upgraded while the Rays received an asset to cut while saving over $1MM. Shortly after the trade, Kick ham was released by the team with no penalty being absorbed.
The 2-for-1 trade and then cutting Kick ham opened up two roster spots that allowed the Rays to make two heavily rumored signings. First is Alonso Parnell (CP, 25 years old, 68 OR, A potential, $80k Mile deal).
He will start in AA most likely but will be a key arm in the bullpen that is cost controlled over the coming years. The other signing is Oscar Colas (SP, 21 years old, 63 OR, B potential, $70k Mile deal).
Colas comes in as a two-way player who will have the chance to make an impact in the minors early on while honing skills on the pitching and hitting side. So the Rays saved about $1MM and got back two cost controlled players that have a chance to make an impact over the course of their first contract.
Spring Training has come and gone with the Rays posting a 16-10 record, good enough for 3rd in the Grapefruit League and 5th overall. The Rays started out on the right foot, winning their first game, but problems quickly mounted after that.
Obviously the bullpen was an issue based on the above and the fact that as a team, we blew 4 saves in the first 7 games. The Rays somehow managed to go 6-5 in the first 11 games even though they were 27th in batting average, 11th in ERA and gave up the 2nd most blown saves.
It was at that point that they revamped the bullpen, moved McKay to a starter, and shuffled the lineup a little. The bullpen may be trouble as, aside from our closer Nick Anderson, there were too many blown saves.
Brandon Lowe led league in avg (.392), 2nd in HR (9), 3rd in RBI's (23) and 2nd in GBP at 1.294. Charlie Morton was in 2nd with 4 wins, 5th in ERA (2.31), 5th in strikeouts (39 in 25 IP) and 3rd in pitching WAR at 1.1.
Blake Snell was 8th with 33 strikeouts in 25.1 IP and posted a 2.13 ERA to go along with the 4th best WAR at 1.0. On the low side, Kevin Carmaker and Willie Adams both hit under .150, and we’ve already covered the bullpen issues.
Johnson now has to take a look at his roster and whittle it down to 26 players after a successful Spring Training. I’ll be doing roster cuts to get to the projected MLB lineup/rotation (from Fan graphs) and after that, it’s off and running.
Hunter Refroze (MLB, 84, 28, B) Jose Martinez (MLB, 77, 31, C) Dylan Cozens (AAA, 62, 24, A) Ryan Bold (AAA, 61, 24, D) Nick Shell (AA, 58, 20, C) Moises Gomez (AA, 57, 21, C) Quote: Originally Posted by TwelveozPlaya21 add worthless Xavier Lee to that list.