Puckett’s Pond’s Minnesota Twins Top-40 prospects: #16-20
By Nate Palmer
No. 16 Zack Littell, RHP, Rochester Red Wings
Nate’s Rank: 20, Gary’s Rank: 13
Zack Littell has now spent just a little more than a year in the Twins system after being traded to the Twins as part of the deal that sent Jaime Garcia to the New York Yankees at the 2017 trade deadline. Coming back to the Twins was Littell and Dietrich Enns. This season Littell received his first taste of the majors which had to be a great call to get even though the year has been a bit of a down year for the right-hander.
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Littell’s overall ERA in the minors this season of 4.45 may be buoyed a bit by some rough final numbers in Double-A Chattanooga. At Double-A, Littell made 5 starts and finished with a 5.87 ERA but also had a 12.5 K/9 rate. Since moving to Triple-A Rochester the stat line reads much nicer as he has made 14 starts (appeared in 17 games total) and has a 3.63 ERA, 8.3 K/9, and 1.325 WHIP.
Littell doesn’t throw the ball hard and instead has to truly prove that he can pitch not just throw the ball. With a fastball that only reaches the low 90s, Littell finds success by using his good control to be able to work the zone while facing off against opposing batters. He also shows off an impressive spin rate which certainly helps Littell hold a respectable K/9 rate even though his fastball’s speed isn’t requisite of what we expect from a strikeout pitcher.
While Littell’s major league journey was not pleasant as he only was able to last 3.1 innings over two games and allowed seven runs. There is still plenty of promise in his 22-year-old arm to be able to contribute to the Twins pitching staff soon. The question may become not whether he is deserving, but if there is room for him on the active 25-man roster.