The Marlins purchased the contract of left-hander Rob Zastryzny from the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League on Tuesday. The Ducks announced the move, adding that Zastryzny will report to the Marlins’ extended spring training site. The Marlins also selected the contract of righty Anthony Bender, as Craig Mish of SportsGrid first reported.
The 29-year-old Zastryzny joined the Ducks back in March, but he exited before ever throwing a pitch for the team. Prior to signing with the Ducks, the former second-round pick (2013) appeared in the bigs from 2016-18 with the Cubs, who drafted him. He also had stints with the Dodgers and Orioles, though he didn’t make it to the majors with either of those organizations.
During his time in Chicago, the soft-tossing Zastryzny logged 34 2/3 innings and posted a 4.41 ERA with a 51.5 percent groundball rate, a 20.1 percent strikeout rate and a 10.4 percent walk rate. Zastryzny was tough on lefties as a Cub, holding them to a pitiful .154/.313/.154 line, but righties teed off on him for a .330/.387/.468 mark. In his most recent professional action, the 2019 campaign, Zastryzny racked up 113 frames between the Dodgers’ Double-A and Triple-A affiliates. He managed a 5.58 ERA with 104 strikeouts against 38 walks that year.
As for the 26-year-old Bender, he saw action in the minors with the Royals and Brewers from 2016-19. While Bender notched a rock-solid 3.30 ERA in that 239 2/3-inning stretch, he only threw 5 2/3 frames above the High-A level. Bender spent last season with the Milwaukee Milkmen of the American Association, and then Miami took a flyer on him on a minors contract over the winter.
After joining the Marlins, Bender held his own in spring training with 8 1/3 scoreless innings, flashing a 97 mph sinker and a high-spin slider, as Ely Sussman of Fish Stripes points out. Thanks to Bender’s intriguing repertoire, FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen ranks him as the Marlins’ 32nd-best prospect and writes that he could turn into one of their regular middle relievers as early as this season.