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Rays Sign Tyler Zuber To Minor League Deal

Rays Sign Tyler Zuber To Minor League Deal

The Rays have purchased the contract of right-hander Tyler Zuber from the independent Atlantic League’s Long Island Ducks, the Ducks announced yesterday. Zuber will head to Tampa Bay on a minor league contract and is headed to Triple-A Durham.

Zuber, who’ll turn 29 next month, signed a minor league pact with the Guardians in the offseason and spent spring training with them but struggled in his brief look in the Cleveland organization. He served up 10 runs on 10 hits and eight walks in 5 1/3 frames this spring and unsurprisingly didn’t land an Opening Day roster spot. He was released and went on to sign with the Ducks, hoping a strong showing would bring about just this type of opportunity with another club.

Brief as his time with the Ducks was, it’s not hard to see why Zuber’s performance piqued some interest. The former Royals righty pitched just 5 2/3 innings of Atlantic League ball but held opponents to one run on five hits and one walk. He faced a total of 22 opponents and set 10 of them down on strikes (45.4%).

Zuber previously pitched for the Royals in 2020-21, debuting during the pandemic-shortened season with 22 innings of 4.09 ERA ball. He posted a gaudy 30.3% strikeout rate that year but coupled it with an alarming 20.2% walk rate. Overall, he’s pitched 49 1/3 big league innings with a 5.29 ERA, a 24.8% strikeout rate and a 16.7% walk rate.

Command was never an issue for Zuber in the lower minors, however. His overall minor league ERA sits at a tidy 3.20, and he’s paired that with a terrific 31.3% strikeout rate and a solid 8.5% walk rate. Zuber began to battle pronounced control struggles during that 2020 debut, and his penchant for walks carried over into subsequent seasons.

It’s likely that injuries played a part in the abrupt erosion of Zuber’s command. He had shoulder injuries in both 2021 and 2022, missing the entire ’22 season as a result. He was with the D-backs’ Triple-A Reno affiliate in 2023 but still walked 11.1% of his opponents in 20 2/3 innings. Given his recent struggles to locate the ball, Zuber’s impressive command in the Atlantic League is all the more notable, but time will tell whether he can carry that over in his return to affiliated ball.

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