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5/13/1978 (38 y, 9 m, 10 d)
1999 June Amateur Draft - Round: 1, Pick: 9, Overall: 9, Team: Oakland Athletics
$126M / 7 Years (2007 - 2013) + 1 Option Years
Zito formally announced his retirement Monday. (10/19/2015)
Barry Zito and the Search for the Year's Slowest F»
Matthew Kory (FanGraphs)
Barry Zito at his Flamethrowingest
Jeff Sullivan (FanGraphs)
Barry Zito as a Disappearing Exception
Matt Klaassen (FanGraphs)
SF Giants Rotation: Depth Chart Discussions
Dan Wade (RotoGraphs)
Barry Zito's Cumulative Value After Those Gems
Eno Sarris (FanGraphs)
(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
Higher velocity is not always correlated to better results, but there's preliminary evidence that a higher difference in speeds between a fastball and a change-up is correlated to a lower ERA. In any case, Zito added velocity on both his primary pitches (the fastball and curve) while keeping his change-up velocity about the same (thereby increasing the velocity difference). And he had his best season in four years. The linear weights show that his curveball was back (+11 runs in 2009, negative since 2005) and that his new toy, the slider (18.6% in 2009, 5.9% career), was working (+14.7 runs). Batters started whiffing again (contact rate under 87% for the first time in five years) and his strikeout rate increased to a seven-year high. He's tall, yet athletically built, so it is not impossible for Zito to hold on to these gains and benefit from the slider going forward.
The Year Ahead:
Zito gets saddled with a lot of bad karma because of his bloated contract, and even in his best year in five years, he wasn't worth his salary in 2009. But fantasy managers don't have to pay the real-life salary, so all they care about is draft cost. In this case, the real-life negativity about Zito may actually create a bargain in Zito, who showed in 2009 that he is still valuable in the back-end of a fantasy rotation. If he lowers his walk total again, he even has a tiny bit of upside packed into that 31-year-old body. Mixed leaguers should be wary of a guy with a career 1.30 WHIP and 6.76 K/9 anyway, but deep-leaguers can consider the Giants’ remaining Barry once they've reached the bench rounds. (Eno Sarris)
It seems like a long time ago that Zito was a consistent 220-inning-eating workhorse, and even longer ago that he was a Cy Young winner. Zito's 2010 will likely be remembered for his disastrous outing against the Padres on the last weekend of the season, and his subsequent banishment from the Giants' playoff roster. The flip side is that over the rest of the season, Zito posted the best of his four campaigns with the Giants. As low a bar as that is, he set new bests for his Giants tenure in IP (199.1), WHIP (1.34), K's (150) and set a second-best in ERA (4.15). With his best days on the mound clearly behind him, Zito is a solid number-five man in a deep Giants rotation. He's never missed a start in his 10-year career, so he should be good for another 190+ innings in 2011, with an ERA in the low-4.00s, a WHIP around 1.35, 150 or so Ks and about 10 wins. (Patrick Newman)
The Quick Opinion:
No longer a star, Zito is simply a predictable, back-of-the-rotation starter
With Jonathan Sanchez traded to the Royals, Zito is expected to be the Giants’ fifth starter in 2012. If the freshly minted groom can just return to the form he showed in 2009 and 2010, he’ll be serviceable as a fifth starter. In those seasons, he tossed nearly 200 innings, had a strikeout rate that sat between 6.5 and 7.0 and a low-range 4.00 ERA. Even Zito’s peripherals looked good then, with a walk rate of 3.8/9, a strand rate of 73.5% and a FIP fairly close to his ERA. But Zito spent time on the DL in 2011 for the first time in his career after taking a line drive off his foot in April. When he came back, he saw his K/9 drop, his BB/9 rise and his ERA and FIP head above 5.50 for the first time in his career. The Giants still owe Zito $19 million for 2012 and $20 million for 2013, so expect him to pitch every fifth game unless something drastic changes. (Wendy Thurm)
The Quick Opinion:
The $20-million fifth starter does take half of his turns in a nice ballpark. And he's been useful in deep leagues as recently as 2010, so don't forget about him completely.
Zito bounced back in 2012 after suffering through a foot injury in 2011 that put him on the disabled list for the first time in his career. But he bounced back only so far as his 2010 performance. In 184.1 innings pitched, Zito gave the Giants a 4.15 ERA/4.49 FIP/4.92 xFIP, which translated to a 110 ERA-/120 FIP-. Zito's fastball velocity continued its downward trend in 2012; he averaged only 83.75 mph on his two-seamer and four-seamer, and just 80 mph on his cutter. His slider, change-up and curveball sit in the mid-70s, not nearly enough of a velocity difference off of his fastball to fool hitters on a consistent basis. It's no surprise, then, that Zito's 5.57 K/9 sits well below the average for National League starters (7.28). At the same time, his 3.42 BB/9 is higher than the NL average (2.59). Zito does give up fewer home runs per fly ball than the average NL starter, but he does play half his games in the home-run suppressing environment of AT&T Park. (Wendy Thurm/
The Quick Opinion:
After an injury-plagued 2011, Zito returned to form in 2012: a reliable innings-eater at the back end of the rotation. Giants fans will long remember Zito's two stellar outings in the 2012 postseason -- 13.1 innings, 12 hits, two walks, nine strikeouts and only one run scored. But fantasy players shouldn't expect that kind of performance regularly in 2013.
Hasn't seen an ERA below four since Barack Obama was elected... to the Senate. Hasn't seen a WHIP below 1.30 since 2005. He's won at least 12 games just once since 2006. If you are in a 30 team mixed league, Zito still should not appear on your draft list. In fact, I'm not even sure why I was asked to write him up. He's the pitcher the commissioner throws on your roster as a penalty for being an inactive owner. Drafting Barry Zito on your fantasy team should be grounds for automatic dismissal from the league. (Jason Collette)
The Quick Opinion:
He's the pitcher the commissioner throws on your roster as a penalty for being an inactive owner. Drafting Barry Zito on your fantasy team should be grounds for automatic dismissal from the league.
The Oakland A's, not always known for their sentimentality, brought back Zito on a minor league deal for the 2015 season. While he posted modest success in Triple-A with a 3.46 ERA — but a 4.64 FIP — Zito's magic wore off in the big leagues. The left-hander officially retired from professional baseball following three major league appearances, and will now focus on his music career. One can only hope his first album will be called "Noon to Six" in a nod to his curveball. (David Wiers)
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Updated: Thursday, February 23, 2017 3:34 AM ET
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