Zack Thornton is an Option For the Astros in the Rule 5 Draft

The Astros are looking at Zack Thornton as one of ten players for the first pick in the Rule 5 draft.
The Astros are looking at Zack Thornton as one of ten players for the first pick in the Rule 5 draft.

The Houston Astros pick first in the 2013 Rule 5 draft on Thursday, and according to Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle, they have narrowed their list to ten players for that first choice. One of those players, according to Drellich, is Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Zack Thornton.

The Pirates acquired Thornton last December in a trade that sent Chris Resop to the Oakland Athletics. He started his season in Bradenton, but quickly moved up to Altoona after ten dominant appearances. He also spent time with Indianapolis, throwing 25.1 innings total at the level. Between the top three levels, Thornton combined for a 2.63 ERA in 75.1 innings, with a 10.8 K/9 and a 1.4 BB/9.

Thornton doesn’t have the most dominating stuff on paper. His fastball sits 90-91 MPH, and he pairs that with a low 80s changeup and a 77-78 MPH slider. He’s a sinkerball pitcher, with a 61.6% ground ball ratio in 2013.

If he doesn’t get drafted, then Thornton should start the 2014 season in Indianapolis, and could be pitching out of the Pirates’ bullpen by the end of the year as a depth option. It’s not a guarantee that the Astros would draft him, although there is a chance that some other team in need of bullpen help could take him. In my Rule 5 preview a few weeks ago I listed him as the most likely to be drafted from the group of Pirates who were left available.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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leefoo

Oh noooooooooooooooo! I couldn’t take us losing ANOTHER Zach!!!

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