Week: 7 G, 23 AB, .435/.519/1.087, 10 H, 3 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 4 BB, 5 K, 0/1 SB (Triple-A)
2022 Season: 26 G, 90 AB, .211/.330/.433, 19 H, 5 2B, 0 3B, 5 HR, 14 BB, 24 K, 3/4 SB, .224 BABIP (Triple-A)
A California native, Gosuke Katoh was drafted by the Yankees in the second-round of the 2013 MLB Draft out of Rancho Bernardo High School. One of, if not the, best up-the-middle defenders with a hit-over-power profile, his selection in the second-round was seen as a bit of a reach, but the Yankees were impressed by his glove and offensive potential, with Yankees’ vice president of amateur scouting Damon Oppenheimer saying, “We were excited to get this guy in the second round. On our scale, he’s an excellent runner with great hand-eye coordination who can hit with some surprising power. He’s a really good defender, and someone that excites us.” The Yankees signed him for $845,700, the MLB-recommended slot value for the 66 overall pick, and assigned him to their Rookie-level affiliate, beginning a long climb to the top of the ladder for the infield prospect.
Katoh would slowly but surely climb up the Yankees minor league ladder, but his bat always lagged behind his glove. In 2019, after finally making it to Triple-A and hitting .279/.382/.443 in 83 games on the year, he elected free agency and signed a minor league contract with the Marlins. Because of COVID-19, the minor league season was cancelled and he never actually suited up with Miami, becoming a free agent once again in the winter and signing a minor league contract with the Padres. He hit well for them, appearing in 114 games and hitting .306/.388/.474 with 8 home runs for Triple-A El Paso, but never cracked the major league roster and elected for free agency once again.
In December 2021, Katoh signed a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays, and after impressing in spring training, made their opening day roster. He didn’t play much, appearing in 8 games and going 1-7 with 3 walks, and when rosters decreased from 28 players to 26 in May, the 27-year-old infielder was designated for assignment. The Mets claimed him a few days later and optioned him to Triple-A Syracuse. He was called up to the major leagues briefly once again in mid-May, but was sent back down to Syracuse a few days later, where he has remained since.
Week: 1 G (1 GS), 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K (High-A)
Season: 14 G (12 GS), 58.2 IP, 43 H, 17 R, 14 ER (2.15 ERA), 12 BB, 74 K, .294 BABIP (Single-A/High-A)
When the season began, Nick Zwack was assigned to the St. Lucie Mets. His performance there was lackluster, and nothing in the month or so that he spent in the Florida State League could have foreshadowed the success he would have in Brooklyn and run that he is still currently on. In 10 starts with the Cyclones, the left-hander has a 1.37 ERA in 46.0 innings, with 29 hits allowed, 10 walks, and 50 strikeouts. The park factors in Coney Island certainly help, as they have helped Brooklyn pitchers for the last 20 years, but Zwack has actually had more success in the other ballparks in the South Atlantic League than he has in Maimonides Park: in 23.2 innings at home, Zwack has a 2.66 ERA with 17 hits allowed, 5 walks, and 38 strikeouts and has held opposing hitters to a cumulative .198/.250/.361 slash line; in 35.0 innings as a visitor, he has a 1.80 ERA with 26 hits allowed, 7 walks, and 36 strikeouts, and as held opposing hitters to a cumulative .205/.252/.244 slash line.
Zwack’s sinker sits in the low-to-mid-90s and features slightly above-average movement thanks to slightly above-average spin rates. His slider sits in the mid-80s and features sharp, slicing break. His changeup sits in the mid-80s and features late fade and tumble. The left-hander primarily relies on his sinker and slider because he struggles to command his changeup consistently. His slingy delivery and low release point make his pitches harder to pick up- especially to younger batters.
The southpaw is 23-years-old, turning 24 in August. The average age of hitters in the South Atlantic League so far this season is 22.6, meaning that Zwack is slightly older than the hitters he is facing. Younger batters are hitting .193/.232/.278 in 185 plate appearances against him, as opposed to older hitters who are currently hitting .243/.333/.351 in 42 plate appearances. Does this mean that the left-hander is simply an older player beating up on younger, less experienced competition? Not necessarily, especially since the sample size that we’re dealing with here is so small, it is something to be aware of.