Instead of heading to the minors after spring training ended, the Pirates organization decided to keep Zack Von Rosenberg in extended Spring Training to focus on two things: keeping the ball down and repeating his delivery. The right-hander worked hard and joined Low-A West Virginia on June 4th.
“Just being consistent and attacking hitters, mainly get themselves out,” Von Rosenberg said on what he worked on in Bradenton, Florida. “Taking it one day at a time. That was a big thing, too. Making sure I didn’t get caught up in the future, and always looking ahead. Just focus on one day at a time, and taking it one batter at a time — especially in the games, too.”
The success translated in the month of July. Von Rosenberg posted a 2.39 ERA over five starts. The Pirates sixth round pick in the 2009 draft out of Zachary High School in Louisiana, struck out 19 batters over 26.1 innings and even tossed a complete game (seven innings) with the Power. Von Rosenberg didn’t allow more than two earned runs in any of those five starts, in three of them, the right-hander held the opposing team to just one earned run.
“The work ethic, taking it into my bullpens, lifting,” Von Rosenberg said. “Just keeping it like it’s my little baby. I’m doing the same thing. I haven’t changed it. Just getting that consistency, that rhythm with the delivery and going out there and having to perform every fifth day, doing it on a consistent basis. Not differing from what you’re having success with.”
Von Rosenberg has however struggled at times so far in the month of August. The 21-year-old, allowed 16 earned runs over 11.0 innings over his first three starts this month. Left-handers have also been a struggle for Von Rosenberg, connecting for a .327 average off him. Many go through struggles in the dog days of August, but Von Rosenberg has been using his bullpen sessions to try and get back on track.
“Sometimes that happens,” West Virginia pitching coach Willie Glen said. “He was so good for so long. It’s not that you’re due for anything, but it’s just kind of the way it goes.”
“We’re just trying to get that feel back of where he was in July. Try to remember some of those things he did, where he was, what he felt like in those outings that he had. Just try to repeat it in the bullpens and take it with him in the game.”
Von Rosenberg’s last trip to the mound was a step forward. He allowed just one earned on seven hits over five innings. The over-slot draftee, who is ranked in the Pirates top 20 prospects, will make his 15th start of the season tonight at home in West Virginia.
“The biggest thing is I haven’t been as consistent with the inside fastball,” Von Rosenberg said. “The fastball period is what all my pitches are going to play off of. If I’m going to get guys out, I’m going to need to be using my fastball regularly, then just set them up for changeup, curveball, whatever. Whenever my fastball is there, everything else is going to be there too, and play off that, and I’m going to have more success.”