ProspectNation 2011: #22 Mike Zagurski- LHP – Phillies Nation
2011 Top 25 Prospects

ProspectNation 2011: #22 Mike Zagurski- LHP

With a track record of Major League experience, Mike Zagurski continues to be the virtual understudy for the Phillies’ left-handed relievers. Zagurski’s primary role in his career, when healthy, has been as an occasional substitute for the big club’s bull pen.

The Nebraska native, Zagurski, made his debut with the Phillies in May 2007 and was sidelined with an elbow injury by August that year, which required Tommy John Surgery and kept him out for the entire 2008 season. Teamed with Kyle Drabek, who underwent the same procedure, during rehab and their time at Reading in 2009, Zagurski is credited with helping the former Phillies prospect to mature as a ballplayer. Drabek was, of course, dealt to Toronto as part of the Roy Halladay trade in December, 2009.

In October, 2008, the Phillies invited Zagurski, and another rehab partner, Scott Mathieson, to be guests at game 5 of the World Series. That historic night was something that really got under Mike’s skin and gave him even more drive to get back to the Major Leagues. It allowed him to see, up close and in person, the type of action and excitement he was missing. The World Series clincher is steadily on Mike’s mind as he strives to be successful and get noticed.

With a steady work ethic, Zagurski, who will turn 27-years-old this month, grinded hard throughout his 2009 campaign positioning himself to make a return to the big leagues. Combined at High A Clearwater and Double A Reading that year, Zagurski went 3-4 with 8 saves and a 3.38 ERA.

His commitment paid off, as Zagurski earned a call to don red pinstripes once again, this past season. In 52 relief outings with the Triple A Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs in 2010, Zagurski, who married his fiance Lauren this off-season, posted a 2-3 record with 3 saves, a 3.27 ERA and struck out 71 opponents in 52 1/3 innings.

However, once called up, Zagurski struggled, with a 10.29 ERA and a .320 batting average against. On a positive note, Zagurski struck out 11 batters in just 7 innings of action. Mike had two separate tough outings, in which he allowed 3 earned runs. Those efforts resulted in inflated numbers during his minimal MLB time last season. The strike out numbers show he has still some potential to compete at the highest level, if he can simply avoid the mistakes that result in those large outbursts by the opposing offense.

Zagurski is an individual that has serious goals and will work hard to achieve them. He remains a hard throwing lefty hurler with the potential to contribute out of the ‘pen, when given the chance. 


Jay Floyd is PhilliesNation’s minor league contributor.  You can read more from Jay by visiting his site,

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  1. GoPhils

    January 11, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    That’s a great story about how Mike was inspired by the World Series victory. It’s also impressive how he took Drabek under his wing, who I recall had some makeup issues. His time in the Major leagues has been forgettable. However, he hasn’t been given much of a chance. He needs reps at this level. I recall how he froze Jason Heyward on a breaking ball when the Phils played the Braves at the very end of last year. I don’t think Mike was able to get out of this inning though. This at-bat was however a flash of what he could do. The problem is that he has not maximized the brief opportunities he has gotten. For players like him buried in the depth chart, these little cups of coffee need to be taken advantage of in order to force the organization to provide another opportunity. Dane Sardinha did this last year, as did Wilson Valdez. John Mayberry forced the organization not to forget about him, as did Domonic Brown.

  2. Brooks

    January 11, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    I like the kid but I have seen him pitch to often – there were brief flashes of good stuff but mostly he was a target up there. Sorry Mike. Definitely has had some chances with the Phils – I dont want to say its over but its not time, yet.

  3. Jay Floyd

    January 11, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Keep in mind that something I must consider when ranking these minor leaguers is their proximity to the big club. While that should not be held as a strict criteria (we all know the triple A starting catcher is always a tweeked knee away from a call up), it must be weighed in.

    Zagurski hasn’t shown that he’s the next steady set up guy, but he certainly has the tools to get back up and contribute, if things go right.

  4. pegasus62

    January 11, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Plus he’s fat…really fat

  5. betasigmadeltashag

    January 11, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    I have only seen him pitch while with the Phillies and thought he had some good stuff, but not much else. He seemed to get hit around a lot in the majors this past year. And at 27 not much more time to prove he can pitch in the big leagues.

  6. tavian

    January 11, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    I like Zagurski. He is a lefty reliever who will be given more time to develop. Frankly, I think the guy is close to being a pretty decent back-end reliever in the majors. Also, he does look like he enjoys an occasional heavy meal. Perhaps he’s simply big boned.

  7. Gaze_NJ

    January 12, 2011 at 11:14 am

    This starting pitching staff could be the perfect storm for guys like Zagurski and Mathieson to get their chance at the major league level. I suspect there will be a lot of “mop up” opportunities for these guys to play around with.

  8. bjfolk12

    January 12, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    I think most of you are right, I believe Brooks said, “there were brief flashes of good stuff but mostly he was a target up there” which is right but I have seen him in Reading a lot and its the exact same things there. He has the stuff but sometimes he just doesn’t bring it or show it.

    I don’t know if its inconsistency or make up but he gives up walks or gets bounced around just as much in AA, when I saw him, as in the Majors.

    I like the guy but at 27 he needs to prove something soon…didn’t we just trade an inconsistent 26 year old LHP with more major league experience just the other day? I thought Sergio was a better pitcher than Mike.

  9. Jay Floyd

    January 12, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Sergio not better than Zagurski, based on last season. Escalona was really rough as a closer for Reading and just wasn’t looked at as a big league option by people within the organization any longer.

  10. wahurl

    January 13, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Maybe if he puts down the sandwich and picks up some weights now and then he can be a real major League pitchers. He looks like Baby (fat) Huey.

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