Veen puts on a clinic at High-A, highlighted by blast

July 2nd, 2022

Zac Veen kicked off July with a big-time performance.

MLB Pipeline's No. 27 overall prospect played a big role in High-A Spokane's 9-4 win over Vancouver on Friday.

After the pandemic took away Veen's 2020 season after he was selected as the ninth overall Draft pick that year, the young prospect has been soaking in daily playing time after making the jump straight out of high school.

"As the season goes on, there are moments where, honestly, you see a guy go down with COVID, or just unfortunate things happen where you don't really get to play the game, so I've just been grateful to be able to play the game," Veen said about playing with a constant smile on his face.

In his first three plate appearances on Friday, the 20-year-old walked, grounded out and was hit by a pitch, and still found a way to make an impact. Veen scored following his walk in the first inning, and after being hit in the fifth, he stole second and third, matching his season high for stolen bases with two.

"I was just trying to put as much pressure on [the starter] as I could," Veen said. "With [Ricky Tiedemann] throwing today, who has a good arm, I think going into it, we all knew that it was gonna be tough to put those runs across.

"I definitely take a lot of pride in my baserunning. I was taught from a young age, and especially in high school, that you can impact the game in more than one way."

In the seventh inning, the right fielder gave the Indians their first firework of the month with a solo shot to center that extended the lead to two runs. For good measure, Veen knocked a two-run single to center in the ninth. He ended the day 2-for-3 with three RBIs and two stolen bases.

Veen credits his high school coach at Spruce Creek (Port Orange, Fla.,), Johnny Goodrich, for pushing him before he knew that he would turn his passion into a career. But along with a former coach, Veen found mentorship in former teammate Austin Hays, who is now on the Orioles' roster.

"[Goodrich] has done a lot for me, and Austin Hays was another big one," Veen said. "He was the guy who kind of taught me my routine and how to go about professional baseball. I'd say a lot of the stuff I use, even to this day, I learned back in high school from them."

The pressure of being a first-round Draft pick, a Top 100 prospect and a top-ranked prospect for the Rockies is simply extra motivation for Veen, but having people in his corner has made the transition to professional life smooth.

"I'm definitely proud of it. It shows how much work I've put in, and it makes me want to keep going," Veen said about the attention he's garnered in just his second season. "It's nice to see it, but at the end of the day, the work speaks for itself. And you got to go out there and give it your all and not really try to pay attention to it too much.

"Just relying on a lot of stuff I've learned from guys like Austin Hays and Brendan Rodgers, guys that have made it to The Show. I think having those guys in my corner has definitely been a big part in where I am today."