GreyWolves left-handed pitcher Zak Baayoun has been selected to play in the WCL All-Star game for the South squad tonight at Yakima County Stadium. He is the only member of the GreyWolves to make the all-star game.
"It's going to be pretty cool. It's a big-time event, but I just want to get in there and pound the strike zone when I get my chance to pitch," Baayoun said. "I want to show everyone what the GreyWolves are all out about."
In four starts for Gresham, Baayoun is 1-1 with a 4.33 ERA in 18 and 2/3 innings. He has struck out 17 and walked 12.
"Zak has an electric arm. He definitely has the highest celling out of all of our pitchers. The big thing about him is that he always stays calm. He's a quirky kid, but he has been on the big stage before," GreyWolves head coach Justin Barchus said. "He is just a really good guy to have around."
In the spring, Baayoun completed his freshman season at Long Beach State University where he played a big role in their trip to the NCAA Super Regional. Baayoun was used mainly as a middle reliever as he led the team with 31 appearances. Baayoun ended the spring season with a 3-0 record and a 3.22 ERA while opponents hit just .195 against him.
"I love coming into the big situations. It is always nice to know that the team trusts you to get the job done," Baayoun said.
However, Baayoun has been used in a different role in his time with the GreyWolves. Before coming to Gresham, Baayoun hadn't made a start since his high school days. But with the GreyWolves, all of Baayoun's appearances have been in the starting role. It has taken a little getting used to, but so far, Baayoun has adjusted well.
"Being a starter is definitely different. I haven't really gone out of the windup since last winter. That is why I am here though. To get back into it," Baayoun said. "I still need to get used to going out of the windup more, but I am liking the change."
Even with being selected as an all-star, Baayoun still has more he wants to work on before heading back to Long Beach in the fall.
"Working on my changeup is definitely my main goal for the summer. I feel good about about my fastball and slider, but I want to have more than two pitches," Baayoun said. "I also really want to work on my building my arm strength. The most I threw in the regular season was 30 pitches, so I want to get my arm strength to a place where my velocity is still the same through seven or eight innings."
Baayoun is scheduled to make his next start on Thursday at Bend.
"Long Beach State has some big expectations for (Baayoun) so we hope that we can get him where he needs to be before he heads back to school," Barchus said.