Atlanta Braves 2012 Top Prospects Review: Zeke Spruill

September 9, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Zeke Spruill (52) delivers a pitch against the San Francisco Giants during the third inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
September 9, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Zeke Spruill (52) delivers a pitch against the San Francisco Giants during the third inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

Up next in our trip through time to review the Atlanta Braves 2012 prospects is Zeke Spruill. This is the second installment of this series. First, we took a look at J.R. Graham, the tenth ranked prospect in 2012.

Now, we move on to Zeke Spruill who was the 9th ranked prospect at the end of 2012 according to MLB pipeline.

Zeke Spruill Rises the Braves Rankings

Zeke Spruill was a highly thought of baseball player in the Georgia high school ranks. Good enough to get him drafted in the second round by the Atlanta Braves. Spruill was a tall lanky kid with a sinking fastball, curveball, and potential for a plus changeup. This earned him some comparisons to Derek Lowe at the time. Another big righty that excelled in getting soft grounders over being a big strikeout pitcher.

Spruill took his time going through the Braves minor leagues, as he would not reach AA until 2012. Coming out of high school, the Braves were choosing to be patient with their pitching prospect that was starting to gain some traction in their farm system. Here is a look at each of his stops throughout the years:

  • 2008 Rookie: 40 IP- 2.93 ERA, 2.91 FIP, 3.15 xFIP
  • 2009 Rookie: 19.2 IP- 4.58 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 2.57 xFIP
  • 2009 A: 116 IP- 3.03 ERA, 3.65 FIP, 3.34 xFIP
  • 2010 A+: 65 IP- 5.54 ERA, 3.74 FIP, 3.97 xFIP
  • 2011 A+: 129.2 IP- 3.19 ERA, 3.23 FIP, 3.27 xFIP
  • 2011 AA: 45 IP- 3.20 ERA, 4.93 FIP, 5.66 xFIP
  • 2012 AA: 161.1 IP- 3.67 ERA, 3.44 FIP, 3.69 xFIP

Solid numbers throughout most of the minor league journey for Zeke Spruill. The Braves were patient with their guy, and he showed promise at each stop. Utilizing his ability to get weak contact and keep the ball on the ground. There was a limit to Spruill’s ceiling, as he was not seen as a future top of the rotation guy, but he had certainly proved himself enough to have people believe he could be a reliable middle rotation arm for years.

This saw his value rise as a prospect, as he peaked at 9th on the Braves farm rankings. It would also lead to the Braves capitalizing on that value and using him in a big off-season trade for Justin Upton.

Zeke Spruill Heads to the Desert

On January 24th, 2013 the Atlanta Braves sent Zeke Spruill, Nick Ahmed, Randall Delgado, Brandon Drury, and Martin Prado to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Chris Johnson and Justin Upton.

Spruill may not have been the big prize going back to the Diamondbacks like Delgado, but his rise through the minor leagues made him a nice complimentary piece for Arizona. In 2013, Spruill would finally make his major league debut on June 21st against the Cincinnati Reds at Chase Field. He would pitch one inning, give up only one hit, zero runs, and notch his first career strikeout. He would get two starts in August, but they were rough. The starts were a combined 7 innings, and he would allow 10 runs across the two starts.

He would still pitch well in the minors that season, and his struggles in the majors were seen as growing pains. He finished the 2013 season as the Diamondbacks 10th ranked prospect.

In 2014, he pitched fine in 22.2 innings across 6 appearances with a 3.57 ERA, 2.56 FIP, & 3.65 xFIP. Unfortunately, it became apparent that Spruill was going to be viewed as no more than a long reliever or just another guy in the bullpen to eat innings. His last appearance with the Diamondbacks would be on September 23rd, 2014 against the Minnesota Twins where he would pitch 4 innings allowing 2 runs. Unfortunately, it also ended up being his final appearance in the major leagues.

The beginning of the end for Zeke Spruill

On December 12th, 2014 Zeke Spruill would be traded to the Boston Red Sox for Myles Smith. Spruill would never find his way to Boston, spending the entire year with the AAA club.

On July 3rd, 2015 he was DFA’d by the Red Sox to make room for Noé Ramirez. On November 6th, 2015, Spruill would be granted free agency.

Zeke Spruill would then head overseas. First to the KBO and the Kia Tigers. He would finish the 2016 season with a 10-13 record, 5.27 ERA, & 125 strikeouts. He would join the Lamigo Monkeys of the CPBL for the 2017 season. He did throw a 7 inning no hitter that was called in the 7th inning due to weather.

Spruill would get one last look at the major leagues as the Texas Rangers came calling. On December 21st, 2017 he would sign a minor league contract with the Rangers, but he would never appear for them. Instead, he was released in March of 2018. He would return to the Lamigo Monkeys as their team’s foreign backup pitcher for the 2018 season. He would pitch for them again in 2019 before being released on May 20th, 2019. Ending his baseball career.

Stay Tuned!

It may never have worked out for Zeke Spruill quite how some hoped. He rose up prospect rankings and looked like a guy that might have a shot to stick in the backend of a rotation or in the bullpen but was just never able to find his footing in the league. He made it further than most ever do so that is an accomplishment in his own right.

We move along in our review of the 2012 Atlanta Braves prospect rankings. Up next, we will look back at Joey Terdoslavich!