A first round draft pick of the Blue Jays, Zeuch struggled in his first tastes of MLB action. Over the 2019-2021 seasons, he got into 13 games but put up an ERA of 4.59. His 50.9% ground ball rate in that time was fairly healthy, though he struck out just 14.1% of the batters he faced, well below league average. Toronto designated him for assignment last year and traded him to the Cardinals.
After the trade, Zeuch had a 4.93 in Triple-A last year, but took a huge step back this season. Through five starts and 19 1/3 innings, he let up 25 earned runs for an ERA of 11.64. He got his strikeout rate up to 20% but lost the ground balls, with his rate dropping to 36.8%.
Despite that lackluster start to the year, there’s little harm in the Reds taking a flier on him. He’s still just 26 years old and is a former first round draft pick. The club recently recalled Mike Minor to a rotation that also includes Tyler Mahle, Luis Castillo, Hunter Greene and Graham Ashcraft. Mahle and Castillo are each free agents after 2023 and have been in trade rumors for quite some time. They both could be on the move this summer, given the club’s 18-32 record. Minor was just acquired in an offseason trade not long ago but could also be a trade candidate. The Reds have a club option for his 2023 season valued at $13MM with a $1MM buyout, though the Royals agreed to pay that buyout as part of the trade.
Zeuch will try to put up some better results in the minors and earn his way up the starting pitching depth chart, with the club potentially needing innings to be eaten later in the year if they decide to pull the trigger on trading away some arms from their rotation.