High School State Champion of Texas, All-South Texas Pitcher of the Year in 2010, second team All-American in High School, multiple time-Big 12 Pitcher of the Week, Big 12 Champion, 8th all time on the University of Missouri strikeout list, and 2nd round selection of the Chicago Cubs all describe the one and only Rob Zastryzny. Born on March 22nd, 1992 Rob, has pitched his entire life with his dad right by his side. His senior year of high school, Rob boasted an ERA of 0.40 and completed 15 of the 17 games he started. Rob decided to attend the University of Missouri with a major in business administration. Zastryzny fielded offers from several schools, but decided on the University of Missouri because he wanted to attend a competitive program. In 2013, the Cubs selected Rob Zastryzny with the 41st overall selection. With this pick the Cubs took initiative in bolstering their pitching, specifically their south-paw pitchers.
Rob was kind enough to let me ask him a few questions regarding the past, present, and future of his baseball career.
Andrew Buchholz (Interviewer): So first of all, let’s talk about your last name. How do you pronounce Zastryzny? Can you sound it out?
Rob Zastryzny (Interviewee): It's a tough one. But the way it's pronounced is Za-striz-knee.
Andrew: What’s the worst butchering of your name you’ve ever had?
Rob: I've had some terrible attempts at it. The worst one is when people add a silent k in there.
AB: Three random facts about you, go!
RZ: I absolutely love hockey, (Edmonton oilers), I use horse shampoo to make my hair flow better, and I’m the undisputed Mario Party champ of the Cubs.
AB: Who was the biggest influence you had for baseball as a kid? Either a family member or another player?
RZ: My dad was a huge influence because he taught me to always learn the game. When I started playing we both knew nothing and he went to coaching seminars to learn all he could to help me.
AB: Have you always pitched? What other positions have you played?
RZ: I've pitched my whole life. But I played all outfield positions and first base growing up. I was even a pretty good catcher until I hit high school.
AB: Were you a very good hitter?
RZ: I like to think I was a pretty good hitter. I loved it though. I really want to get to Double-A as a starter so I can continue hitting.
AB: What’s your best baseball memory up to this point in your career?
RZ: Winning the big 12 championship my sophomore year. It was an unbelievable experience to dogpile and get that ring.
AB: How was draft day for you? Take us through the day.
RZ: All day I had no idea where I was going. So during the draft I got too nervous and watched "Miracle" to calm my nerves. Then when Kerry Wood called my name it was a huge relief and I couldn't have been happier.
AB: What is the major difference between Boise and Kane County for you?
RZ: The hitters in Kane County were slightly more disciplined and the stage was a little bigger.
AB: What would you say is your “go-to” pitch? What pitch have you been working on recently?
RZ: Fastball is my go-to for sure. I like to throw it in all counts and change speeds. I've been working on my slider trying to speed it up.
AB: Who has helped you the most in the Cubs Organization?
RZ: The strength coaches have all been very helpful to me. Especially Doug Jarrow, he really has helped me get into the best shape of my life.
AB: Lastly, what are your ultimate goals for your career?
RZ: I want to help the Chicago Cubs win the World Series. That would be a dream come true.
Bonus: Follow Rob Zastryzny on twitter at - @RobZaztryzny_8
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