The COVID-19 pandemic impacted every high school and college athlete, but few were as impacted as Calvin Ziegler. A native of Heidelberg, Ontario, Canada, a town of just 500, he was forced to relocate to central Florida in order to keep his baseball dream alive. He attended St. Mary’s Catholic Secondary School in Kitchener and played baseball for the Great Lakes Canadians, an excellent travel ball program, but when the coronavirus pandemic prompted the United States and Canada to ban all non-essential travel between their respective borders, Ziegler was left in a bind. With his ability to play severely limited and no scouts from the United States able to see him play, his draft stock in the 2021 MLB Draft would fall precipitously. He made the decision to move to the United States in January 2021 and enroll at the TNXL Academy in Ocoee, Florida, where he finished out this spring.
There is probably not too much projection left in Ziegler’s 6’, 205-pound frame, as he is already well built and solidly proportioned at this point. He throws from a high-three-quarters arm slot, with a long arm action through the back and a bit of crossfire. His mechanics are loose, easy, and fluid and he repeats them well. He maintains his velocity through his starts and should be able to handle high workloads in the future.
The right-hander’s fastball has slowly but surely improved as he has aged, and he has sat comfortably in the low-to-mid-90s this past spring, with the ability to ramp the pitch up to the high-90s. He credits the velocity gains to working with coaches and transforming him from a thrower into a pitcher by using his lower half better and streamlining his mechanics. When thrown up in the zone, the pitch has some arm-side movement, and when thrown down in the sone, it has sink in addition to that movement.
Complementing his fastball, Ziegler also throws a curveball and a changeup.
His curveball sometimes comes out of his hand more slurvy, but when the low-80s pitch is able to consistently take the form of a curveball or a slider, if flashes above-average. As he develops as a pitcher, Ziegler and his pitching coaches will have to decide whether or not making the pitch more of a curveball or more of a slider will benefit him the most. As it is right now, the pitch is somewhere between an 11-5 and 12-6 curveball in terms of shape, but has more horizontal movement than most curveballs. His changeup sits in the mid-80s, and while he does not throw it too often, it shows promise. He maintains his arm speed when throwing it and the pitch has sudden fade and tumble in the zone.
Ziegler has a commitment to Auburn University.