- Full name Zack Stuart Littell
- Born 10/05/1995 in Burlington, NC
- Profile Ht.: 6'4" / Wt.: 220 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Eastern Alamance
- Debut 06/05/2018
Drafted in the 11th round (327th overall) by the Seattle Mariners in 2013 (signed for $100,000).
View Draft ReportAn Appalachian State signee, Littell gained some traction with area scouts this spring with a fastball that crept into the low 90s, though it sits more regularly at 88-90 mph. He's listed at 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, and while that might be spotting him an inch or two, he does have a projectable frame that may lead to increased velocity in the future. Littell has a big curveball that could be tightened up, but he throws it for strikes. He is raw but has upside with arm speed and a sound delivery.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Track Record: A late-blooming prospect traded twice before turning 22, Littell has come a long way since the Mariners signed him out of a small North Carolina high school. Acquired from the Yankees in the Jaime Garcia deal in July 2017, Littell continues to defy doubters and made his ML debut in 2018.
Scouting Report: A Duke signee out of high school, Littell has improved his conditioning and command while showing plus pitchability to go with his durable frame. He can work his 91-94 mph fastball up in the zone due to a high spin rate, and his curveball has good bite and depth with the chance to be a plus pitch. His changeup should be at least average with swing-and-miss moments. Littell is highly coachable with a repeatable delivery and was among the best adapters to the opener expirement the Twins tried.
The Future: After mixed results in three separate big league stints, Littell should get another chance to win a spot in the back of the rotation.
Traded twice before his 22nd birthday, the former Mariners 11th-rounder just keeps improving. Signed for $100,000 out of a rural North Carolina high school, the former Appalachian State signee was shipped to the Yankees for lefty reliever James Pazos after the 2016 season. Eight and a half months later he was on the move again, this time to the Twins at the July trade deadline for veteran lefty Jaime Garcia. Blessed with a sturdy pitcher's frame and a repeatable delivery, Littell has made improvements to his conditioning, command and pitchability. He pitches at 91-93 mph with his fastball, showing the ability to work effectively up in the zone due to his high spin rate. His sweeping curveball has good bite and depth and projects to be a plus pitch. His changeup can be at least average with swing-and-miss fade. Littell pushed his groundball rate as high as 54 percent in the Southern League while seeing his walk rate spike close to four per game after joining the Twins. He avoids the long ball. Added to the 40-man roster after the season, Littell should open 2018 at Triple-A Rochester. He projects as a solid mid-rotation piece with the potential for a little more.
The Mariners drafted Littell as a 17-year old long-term project in 2013 and signed him for $100,000 to buy him out of an Appalachian State commitment. Seattle began to see the payoff three years after drafting him, but needing lefthander relief help traded him after the 2016 season to the Yankees for James Pazos. Littell's fastball sits 89-91, touching 93, and plays up because of high spin rate and advanced command. His main secondary offering is a true curveball that flashes plus, and he rounds out his three-pitch mix with an average to above-average changeup. Beyond his stuff Littell draws praise for his pre-start preparation, which includes advanced study of hitters' swings and tendencies. Littell often excelled most when pitching the final game of a series, when he had two or three days to watch an opposing team's hitters and figure out their weaknesses. His ERA has dropped every level he has climbed and his growing strength helped him hold up over 165.2 innings last season. He projects as a back-end starter and will begin 2017 in high Class A Tampa's rotation, with a strong chance to ascend to Double-A Trenton by summer.
An Appalachian State signee, Littell gained some traction with area scouts this spring with a fastball that crept into the low 90s, though it sits more regularly at 88-90 mph. He's listed at 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, and while that might be spotting him an inch or two, he does have a projectable frame that may lead to increased velocity in the future. Littell has a big curveball that could be tightened up, but he throws it for strikes. He is raw but has upside with arm speed and a sound delivery.