When looking at the potential PawSox starting rotation for 2009 Charlie Zink‘s name is not the first one that comes to mind. That is reserved for the likes of Clay Buchholz and Michael Bowden, two of the Red Sox organization’s young guns. Even if he is not in the spotlight of the other two, there is no doubting that Zink has been one of the most consistent pitchers in the Sox minor league system.
Zink enters 2009 as the reigning International League Pitcher of the Year, putting up a career-best 14 wins against 6 losses. His 2.84 ERA was second in the league behind Syracuse’s David Purcey. His 174 1/3 innings pitched was also a single season high.
The 29 year-old knuckleballer from El Dorado Hills, CA is in his eighth season in the Red Sox organization, parts of five of whichhave been with the Pawtucket. Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2002, Zink pitched for Sox great Luis Tiant when Tiant coached at Savannah College of Art and Design.
Prior to 2008 Zink had what was considered to be your average minor league baseball career. But his work ethic and overall athleticism kept Zink on the radar screen of the Red Sox developmental staff.
Although Zink will throw the knuckleball a majority of the time, he does have an 80+ mile per hour fast ball that he mixes with a change-up and cutter.
Zink did break into the Boston rotation for one game in 2008, earning a no decision against the Texas Rangers on August 12th. Zink is not on the Red Sox 40-man roster but is in big league camp as a non-roster invitee.
Zink proved to be the iron horse of the 2008 PawSox staff. It may be too much to ask Zink for a repeat performance in 2009…but don’t be surprised if he does.
Photo courtesy Pawtucket Red Sox via Sox Prospects