Zach Fruit earns MLB Draft Combine invite

Published 4:06 pm Thursday, June 15, 2023

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Troy fireball right-hander Zach Fruit has been invited to the 2023 MLB Draft Combine June 19-24 at Chase Field in Phoenix in advance of next month’s MLB First-Year Player Draft.

Fruit, whose fastball tops out at 97 mph, started the year in Troy’s rotation before moving to the bullpen, where he recorded five saves over 14 relief appearances. A Dundee, Mich., native, Fruit averaged 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings in his lone season with the Trojans, a drastic increase from his 8.6 rate in 2022 at Eastern Michigan.

He struck out six batters in 5.1 innings during Troy’s run through the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional after striking out 11 batters in just 5.2 innings in a pair of appearances in the Sun Belt Tournament. Fruit struck out five or more batters in 10 of his 22 outings and earned the save in Troy’s victory over Boston College in the Regional opener, Troy’s fourth straight win in an NCAA opening game.

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Fruit, who struck out at least one batter every time he took the mound, will join some 300 Draft-eligible prospects in the third annual MLB Draft Combine. He becomes the second Trojan to earn an invite after Logan Cerny appeared in the inaugural event before being selected by the Phillies in the 10th round of the 2021 MLB Draft.

Ex-big leaguers such as Eric Davis, Mike Cameron, Raul Ibañez, Rajai Davis, Gregor Blanco, Brad Penny, Dan Otero, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Luis Alicea, Jeff Reboulet and Michael Tucker will be on hand as well, as will former Marlins president of baseball operations and MLB’s current senior vice president of on-field operations Michael Hill and former MLB hitting coach Rick Eckstein.

Now in its third year, the event offers an opportunity for players to interview and interact directly with MLB general managers and scouting directors, as well as take part in a series of medical and performance assessments and educational programming designed to prepare them for careers in professional baseball. Attendees will also have opportunities to be featured on MLB social media channels, receiving personal branding training and access to real-time content and custom video for their own platforms.

MLB Network will provide extensive on-site coverage of the Combine on June 20-21, as hosts Greg Amsinger and Siera Santos will be joined by analysts Jim Callis, Sean Casey, Sarah Langs, Dan O’Dowd, Harold Reynolds and Chris Young. New MLB Network contributor Jared Carrabis will also be part of the coverage, including interviewing prospects from the Chase Field pool.