June 23, 2024

Red Sox pitching prospect Zach Penrod was named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week for May 13-19, as announced by Minor League Baseball on Monday.

Penrod earned the recognition following an impressive performance for Double-A Portland on Saturday. In a 2-1 victory over the Somerset Patriots, the 26-year-old left-hander gave up just one earned run on one hit, three walks, and struck out 10 batters over six strong innings.

Red Sox lefty Zach Penrod on his outing against Northeastern: 'I only know  100%'

During his outing at TD Bank Ballpark, Penrod retired the first 14 batters he faced before issuing a two-out walk in the fifth inning. In the sixth, he allowed a leadoff single and walked two more batters, loading the bases with no outs. Somerset scored one run on a sacrifice fly, but Penrod escaped further damage with consecutive flyouts, ending his night on a high note.

Penrod threw 90 pitches, 59 for strikes, and recorded 25 swings-and-misses, earning the win. He is now 3-0 with a 2.10 ERA (2.95 FIP) and has 44 strikeouts to 12 walks in six starts (30 innings) for Portland this season, holding opponents to a .173 batting average.

In his last outing, Penrod pitched six innings, allowed five hits, one earned run, no walks, and struck out 10 batters with a 40% whiff rate, lowering his ERA to 2.25.

Among 38 qualified pitchers in the Eastern League, Penrod leads in strikeouts per nine innings (13.2), swinging-strike rate (17.1%), and xFIP (2.59). He is second in strikeout rate (37.3%), third in batting average against, fourth in WHIP (1.00), fifth in ERA, and ninth in FIP, according to FanGraphs.

Turning 27 next month, Penrod is ranked as the No. 29 prospect in Boston’s farm system by SoxProspects.com, and 12th among pitchers. Signed out of the independent Pioneer League last August, Penrod had previously signed with the Rangers as an undrafted free agent from Division II Northwest Nazarene University in 2018.

Since joining the Red Sox organization nine months ago, Penrod has a 2.13 ERA and 3.39 FIP with 64 strikeouts and 23 walks in 10 starts (50 2/3 innings) between High-A Greenville and Portland. He contributed to Greenville’s South Atlantic League championship last September and was an All-Star in the 2023 Arizona Fall League.

Penrod, listed at 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, pitches from a three-quarters arm slot. He features a 94-95 mph fastball, an 85-88 mph changeup, and an 84-87 mph slider, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier and SoxProspects.com’s Ian Cundall.

Red Sox prospects Zach Penrod, Corey Rosier selected to 2023 Fall Stars  Game – Blogging the Red Sox

Given his success with Portland, Penrod appears close to a promotion to Triple-A Worcester. There is some debate over his future role, whether as a starter or a multi-inning reliever, but he has certainly become an intriguing prospect in the system.

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