22. Daniel Zamora, LHP
Height: 6’3”, Weight: 195 lbs.
DOB: 04/15/93 (25)
Acquired: Trade (Pittsburgh Pirates)
2018: 40 G (1 GS), 51.2 IP, 37 H, 20 R, 20 ER (3.48 ERA), 16 BB, 69 K, .291 BABIP (Double-A)
Zamora attended Bishop Amat Memorial High School in La Puente, California and posted a 1.96 ERA in 160.1 innings there, allowing 139 hits, walking 34, and striking out 131. As a senior, he posted a 2.67 ERA in 67.1 innings pitched, allowing 69 hits, walking 19, and striking out 72 and was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 27th round of the 2012 MLB Draft. He did not sign with Toronto and instead attended SUNY Stony Brook. In his first season there, Zamora made fifteen starts and posted a 4.95 ERA in 83.2 innings, allowing 80 hits, walking 31, and striking out 77. He missed the entire 2014 season due to a torn labrum, but returned to the mound in 2015 as a red shirt sophomore. He barely missed a beat, appearing in fifteen games and posting a 3.00 ERA in 81.0 innings, allowing 75 hits, walking 35, and striking out 80. The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Zamora in the 40th round of the 2015 MLB Draft, and the southpaw signed with them.
He was solid-if-unspectacular middle reliever during his time in the Pirates’ minor league system, pitching for the West Virginia Black Bears in 2015, the West Virginia Power in 2016, and the Bradenton Marauders and Altoona Curve in 2017. On January 31, 2018, he was traded to the Mets along with cash in exchange for Josh Smoker. He began the 2018 season with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies and made 40 appearances with them, posting a 3.48 ERA in 51.2 innings, allowing 37 hits, walking 16, and striking out 69. On August 17, his contract was selected by the major league club and Zamora was promoted to the Mets. He appeared in 16 games with them, posting a 3.00 ERA in 9.0 innings, allowing 6 hits, walking 3, and striking out 16.
Zamora throws from a low three-quarters arm slot, pitching from the far first base side of the rubber. His delivery has some funk and deception, throwing across his body with a long arm action wrapped behind his back. His fastball sits 89-92, generally settling in around 90 MPH, with sink. He complements his fastball with a sweepy slider that sits 78-80 MPH. His slider is by far his best pitch, generating the majority of his swing and misses. He is confident in the pitch to throw it in any count and anywhere in the zone, backfooting it to right-handers and getting left-handers to go fishing down and away. Zamora’s control of both his fastball and his slider comes and goes.
Steve Sypa says:
Daniel Zamora didn’t seem particularly interesting until he was called up to the major leagues and struck out almost 50% of the batters he faced. Obviously, his 2018 numbers need to be taken through the lens of small sample size, but there is some degree of major league upside and, earlier in the year, that is not something I thought of when it came to Daniel Zamora. Both his fastball and slider are flyball prone, so home runs may be an issue for Zamora in the future, but he’s shown the ability to get major league hitters out and hopefully will be able to continue to do so.
Lukas Vlahos says:
Zamora is a funky delivery LOOGY who saw his strikeout rate improve after being acquired from the Pirates for Josh Smoker. He looked the part in the majors too in a nine inning cameo, striking out 9 of the 19 lefties he faced, along with 7 of the 17 righties. Not a huge sample, but nonetheless encouraging, and Zamora should have a role in the major league bullpen in 2019.
Kenneth Lavin says:
This past season was a very big year for Zamora as a professional. After being traded to the Mets from the Pirates in exchange for fellow southpaw reliever Josh Smoker, Zamora impressed pitching out of the Binghamton bullpen for most of the 2018 season. He ended up posting a 3.48 ERA in 51.2 innings pitched with 69 strikeouts and 16 walks before earning a promotion to serve as a lefty specialist in the Mets big league bullpen. He was relatively impressive during his time with the big league club, posting a 3.00 ERA and striking out an impressive 16 batters in a relatively small nine inning sample. While his performance with the team has certainly earned him a chance to compete for a lefty-specialist role for the Mets at some point in the 2019 season, I have my doubts about Zamora’s big league prospects going forward. Zamora relies almost exclusively on his above-average slider to get left-handed hitters put, throwing it more than 70% of the time. I worry that, as he pitches more against big league hitters, he’s going to have to throw his fastball more to keep hitters from sitting on his slider. Hopefully, Zamora finds a way to make his arsenal continue to work at the big league level going forward.