Originally selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the seventh round of the 2017 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Kentucky... Pitched in five games for the AZL Dodgers. Allowed two hits and no runs in five innings... In three years at Kentucky, went 1-3 with a 4.58 ERA in 74.2 innings. Made two starts, both as a freshman... Member of the Canadian Junior National Team before college... Also played golf, volleyball and hockey while at Notre Dame Catholic High School in Ontario.
Zachery Michael Pop was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft and traded to the Marlins for a player to be named later... Did not pitch in 2020 as he recovered from “Tommy John” surgery.
Pitched for Double-A Bowie in the Orioles organization in 2019. Worked in eight games, going 1-0 with an 0.84 ERA in 10.2 innings before suffering an elbow injury that would require “Tommy John” surgery.
Made 44 appearances and posted a 2-3 record and a 1.53 ERA (11 ER/64.2 IP) with 64 strikeouts across three different levels (Class-A Great Lakes, Class A-Advanced Rancho Cucamonga, and Double-A Bowie)...Allowed one earned run from 4/17-7/11, totaling 40.2 innings pitched and 28 games...Pitched to a 0.33 ERA (1 ER/27.0 IP) in 14 games with Rancho Cucamonga... Went 8-for-10 in save opportunities (7-for-8 with Rancho Cucamonga and 1-for-2 with Bowie)... Held right-handers to a .162 (21-for-130) batting average and left-handers to a .194 (18-for-93) average...Earned his first win with Bowie in the season finale vs. Altoona, tossing 2.0 scoreless innings.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 65 | Slider: 60 | Control: 45 | Overall: 40
Pop was Canada's top high school pitching prospect in 2014, when the Blue Jays drafted him in the 23rd round. He didn't sign and honored his commitment to Kentucky, where he showed one of the most powerful arms in the Southeastern Conference while pitching mostly out of the Wildcats' bullpen. A right forearm strain wiped out the second half of Pop's junior year, but the Dodgers still made him their seventh-round pick in June. He rewarded the organization by reaching Double-A in his first full season, earning a promotion after a dominant first half in the California League, then became Orioles property after they acquired him in a five-player prospect package for Manny Machado in July. He was limited by a balky right elbow in his first Spring Training with the O's but began the season on schedule, only to require Tommy John surgery in early May.
Pop works in the mid-90s, can reach back for 97, and in the past has been up to 99 mph with a plus-plus sinker that he throws from a lower arm slot. The combination of velocity and late movement gives Pop the ability to generate ground balls at an elite rate -- his 65.8 percent ground-ball rate in 2018 was the sixth-best mark among Minor League hurlers (60 IP min.) -- while also missing a healthy number of bats. His hard slider in the mid- to upper-80s is a plus pitch, albeit one that stands out more for its velocity than its sharpness. Pop's sinker-slider pairing makes him lethal against right-handed hitters, whom he limited to a paltry .162/.243/.200 batting line in '18.
Pop has the pure stuff needed to carve out a late-inning role in the big leagues, perhaps even as a closer if he can further improve the action on his slider and refine his command.