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Red Sox Top Prospect Voting: Can Ryan Zeferjahn stay in the rotation?

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That’s the question for the righty as he really gets his pro career rolling.

Ryan Zeferjahn
Kelly O’Connor; https://sittingstill.smugmug.com/

Over the last few rounds of voting, we have had three pitchers vying for a spot on our list with close votes time after time. First, their votes canceling each other out resulted in Marcus Wilson sneaking onto the list. Aldo Ramirez got himself on the list after that, followed by Brayan Bello. That left just one arm from that group remaining, but he found himself in a close one with another pitcher this time around. Ryan Zeferjahn didn’t lose again, though, sneaking onto the list at number 19 with 37 percent of the vote.

Back in 2016 Zeferjahn was part of a fairly exciting pitcher class from the high school level in Kansas that also included former top five pick Riely Pint as well as Joey Wentz, a prospect in the Tigers system. Zeferjahn was a step below those two coming out of high school and set some pretty lofty demands for a signing bonus that wasn’t going to be met. The righty was selected by the Rays in the 37th round that year, but opted to attend college at his home stat university.

As a Jayhawk, Zeferjahn showed off a lot of the same kind of skillset that he showed in high school that makes him an intriguing prospect but also one who is raw and needs more development. His best showing as a college pitcher was probably in the summer of 2017, which he spent on the Cape. In 2019, he made 5 starts at Kansas and pitched to a 3.97 ERA with about eleven strikeouts per nine innings but also 4.5 walks. Heading into the draft, he was ranked very highly by Baseball America, who had him at number 57 in the class, but was much lower on other lists. Ultimately, he fell to the third round where he was taken by the Red Sox.

Zeferjahn was given a chance to pitch in Lowell immediately after being drafted and he would spend the whole summer with the Spinners. He’d make 12 short starts totaling 22 innings on the year, pitching to a 4.50 ERA with 31 strikeouts and 12 walks. So, again, there were a lot of missed bats but also a lot of missed strike zones.

Unsurprisingly, that’s basically where the scouting report comes down on Zeferjahn. The stuff is very impressive, particularly with his fastball. This is his best pitch, sitting in the mid-90s and getting a bit higher than that at times, also featuring some movement down in the zone. Along with the heat, he throws a really good slider and a changeup that can be above-average as well. Three pitches of at least above-average potential is generally the mark of a top prospect, particularly at Zeferjahn’s size — he’s listed at 6’5”, 220 pounds — and solid, though not perfect, mechanics. Unfortunately, his command and control are still very raw. The walks are a big deal and are apparent in his numbers, but he also misses over the plate, which can lead to hard contact. As a result of these issues that have been in place since high school, there is a belief by most scouts that this is just who he is and the best spot for him is in the bullpen where his fastball and slider combination can really thrive.

For now, though, he will remain in the rotation as the Red Sox development staff will look for the tweaks necessary to sharpen the command. If and when this season does get started, he is expected to be a part of the rotation in Greenville.

Our full list is below:

1. Jeter Downs

2. Triston Casas

3. Bobby Dalbec

4. Bryan Mata

5. Noah Song

6. Gilberto Jimenez

7. Jay Groome

8. Jarren Duran

9. Thad Ward

10. Tanner Houck

11. Matthew Lugo

12. C.J. Chatham

13. Connor Wong

14. Nick Decker

15. Cameron Cannon

16. Marcus Wilson

17. Aldo Ramirez

18. Brayan Bello

19. Ryan Zeferjahn

Now, you can head down into the comments and vote for the number two. As a reminder, to do this you go down below and find the comment from me corresponding with the player for whom you’d like to vote. When you find said player, just click the “rec” button, and that will count your vote. To do this, you will need to be logged in as a member of the site. If you’d like to vote for a player who is not listed, just leave a comment saying “Vote for ___ here” and I’ll rec the comment to count your vote. Until next time...