February 18th marks the day that Brewers pitchers and catchers will report to Maryvale for Spring Training. Joining the Brewers this year, as part of big league camp, will be hard throwing RHP Zach Vennaro.
Vennaro was initially signed by the Milwaukee Brewers to a minor league contract in the June of 2019. He was immediately assigned to the Arizona Rookie League where he appeared in 21 games a reliver, tossed 28 innings, struck out 35 batters, and posted a 3.86 ERA.
His collegiate baseball was played at the University of Mount Olive. He enjoyed a tremendous senior season in 2018, allowing just four earned runs in 44 innings of work. He struck out 52 batters on his way to an astonishing 0.81 ERA.
Despite this, he unfortunately was not drafted at the conclusion of his senior season from Mount Olive and went on to pitch briefly in an independent league for the Ottawa Champions. Even though Vennaro was not drafted, he began training at K-Zone Baseball, a training facility in Raleigh, North Carolina.
For training he was lifting weights, increasing his mobility, and seeing substantial increases in his fastball velocity. When he first arrived at K-Zone in 2018, his fastball topped out at 87 MPH. Prior to heading to spring training in 2020, he was hitting 100 MPH! Vennaro was the first pitcher to top 100 MPH at this specific training facility, which has trained countless pitchers over its past eight years in existence, Trevor Bauer being one of them.
This past winter Vennaro had been training in New York at Blue Sox Academy, in which they are ecstatic at the opportunity that awaits him.
Vennaro has obviously undergone quite the pitching turnaround. If it was not for the coronavirus pandemic last season and the shut down of minor league baseball, he likely would have made some noise last season in which he was slated to begin with the Carolina Mudcats.
Now just a year later Zach Vennaro will be joining other non roster invitees whom will be competing for roster spots.
At just 24 years old and essentially no minor league experience in the traditional lower ranks of baseball, it is a long shot for him to make the 40 man roster but he certainly will be one player to keep your eye on!