Originally written on Pirates Prospects  |  Last updated 11/19/14
ZACH THORNTON RIGHT HANDED PITCHER Born: May 19, 1988 Height: 6’3″ Weight: 213 Bats: Right Throws: Right Drafted: 23rd round, 695th overall, 2010 (Athletics) How Acquired: Trade from Athletics (for Chris Resop) College: University of Oregon (Eugene) Agent: N/A WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES Thornton was considered one of the top pitching prospects in the junior college ranks when he was first drafted in 2008, but he didn’t sign.  He wasn’t as highly regarded in 2010 when the A’s drafted him.  They assigned him immediately to the bullpen and he’s never started a game in the minors, which probably indicates they didn’t consider him a prospect.  He throws from a low 3/4 angle, with a fastball that can be in the low 90s or in the upper 80s.  At the time the A’s drafted him he had a good change and unimpressive breaking ball.  He’s generally had high K rates so far, but in the low minors that can result from an odd delivery that may not work as well at upper levels or in the majors.  The Pirates acquired Thornton for Chris Resop, who otherwise probably would have been non-tendered. 2010 R:  0-0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, 3.1 IP, 0.0 BB/9, 5.4 K/9 A-:  2-2-0, 4.39 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 26.2 IP, 2.7 BB/9, 9.8 K/9 Other than a high K rate, Thornton didn’t pitch especially well in his short season debut. 2011 A:  5-4-5, 2.39 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 83.0 IP, 2.4 BB/9, 8.9 K/9 AA:  0-0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 3.0 IP, 3.0 BB/9, 12.0 K/9 Thornton pitched well in low A, but he was old for the level at 23. 2012 A+:  4-0-16, 4.53 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 53.2 IP, 3.2 BB/9, 11.7 K/9 Thornton served as closer in the California League.  He got hit harder, but California League ERAs don’t necessarily mean a lot due to the extreme high-offense environment.  Thornton had a very high K rate. The Pirates will probably try Thornton at Altoona in 2013.  He could serve as the closer.  He’ll turn 25 in May, so he needs to pitch well from the start to establish himself as a prospect. STATS Baseball Reference–Minors Fangraphs MiLB.com CONTRACT INFORMATION 2013: Minor league contract PLAYER INFORMATION Signing Bonus: N/A MiLB Debut: 2010 MLB Debut: N/A MiLB FA Eligible: 2016 MLB FA Eligible: N/A Rule 5 Eligible: 2013 Added to 40-Man: N/A Options Remaining: 3 MLB Service Time: 0.000 TRANSACTIONS June 6, 2008: Drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 43rd round, 1287th overall pick. June 9, 2010: Drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 23rd round, 34th overall pick; signed on June 14. November 30, 2012: Traded by the Oakland Athletics to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Chris Resop.
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