Sometimes, a less-than-heralded Pitcher just needs a chance. Blue Jays LHP Zach Logue may be one of them.
A 9th-round pick from Kentucky last June, Logue has pitched very effectively over his brief pro career.
Logue’s draft report from Baseball America suggested a future bullpen role:
After an apprenticeship in Kentucky’s bullpen, Logue became a reliable starter as a junior, posting a 7-5, 4.84 year, showing the ability to generate strikeouts with his slider, but also showing a propensity to give up hard contact when he caught too much of the plate. Scouts see him moving back to the bullpen as a pro, a role they saw him excel in last summer in the Cape Cod League. Logue’s 87-90 mph fastball and fringe-average slider both might play up more in short stints as a matchup lefty.
After being selected in the 9th round last June, Logue went to Vancouver (via a short stint at Bluefield), and working in piggyback tandem with fellow draftee Justin Dillon, he quickly became a mainstay in the C’s rotation.
In 25.2 innings spread over 9 innings-limited outings, Logue fanned 28 and walked only 8, posting a sparkling 1.75 ERA. Taking over from Dillon in the 4th in what proved to be the Northwest League title clincher, Logue gave up a Home Run to the first batter he faced, then settled down to give the Canadians three solid innings, and picked up the Win.
Logue’s stock in the draft likely slipped due to concerns about his size and lack of a true dominant pitch. He makes up for those issues with pinpoint command to both sides of the plate. Sitting 89-91 with his fastball, Logue throws ad two-seamer and a four-seamer, as well as a decent change, and sweeping, slurvy slider. He can throw all of his pitches for strikes, and pounds the strike zone, averaging about a 62% strike rate over three starts so far this year. Logue also has a good pickoff move to 1B, and helps himself by fielding his position very well. In short, he demonstrates a good command of his repertoire, throws strikes, and shows a very good feel for Pitching.
This year, everything comes off his fastball, according to Logue:
Right now, my fastball has been my best pitch. Especially in my last two starts, I’ve been able to locate it well and throw it inside which opens up the rest of the plate. I’ve also used my two seam more which had helped me against righties
He had the South Bend play-by-play team believe he throws a cutter, but it’s not part of his arsenal at this point:
I actually don’t throw a cutter but it may have looked like that since I was throwing inside to righties a pretty good amount.
To continue to move up the Blue Jays ladder, Logue believes that he needs to upgrade his secondary pitches:
I think for me to move to the next level I really need to get more consistent with my off speed pitches. I feel pretty comfortable with throwing my slider for strikes but I need to work on throwing it in the dirt with two strikes to put guys away. And my change up needs to be more consistent. When its down, its good. But I need to be able to throw it down all the time. Sometimes I get on the side of it and it just floats a little bit. And of course better fastball command can’t hurt!
I’ve had a chance to see Logue pitch three times now – once late last summer in a relief appearance in Vancouver, and twice online this spring. In his most recent start at South Bend against the Cubs’ affiliate, after the leadoff hitter reached on an error, Logue picked him off at 1st, then retired the next 10. The only blemish was a two-out Homer in the 4th on a mistake in the middle of the plate. Logue tossed 6 strong innings, allowing 2 hits, walking one and fanning 5. Update: it was Logue’s turn in the rotation again last night, and he turned in six strong innings, giving up only a run. His strike rate was just shy of 70%.
You will not find Logue on many Top Blue Jays prospects lists, but it’s getting to the point where you have to start taking a closer look at him. Since turning pro, he’s refined his pitches, and has been an economical, weak contact-inducing machine. Following fireballer Yennsy Diaz in Lansing’s rotation, his finesse-based approach nicely messes up the opposition’s timing. Unless he can add some more velo, or improve the quality of his secondaries, he may have trouble getting hitters out at the higher levels. Given what he’s accomplished already in his short career, though, that chance will be coming one day. Left-handed starters seem to take longer to develop, and the Blue Jays will give Logue plenty of time to establish himself in that ro