The Zorilla Squad

By Robbie Knopf

Ben Zobrist is the only Zorilla in the history of professional baseball. But there are a bunch of players with the last name of Zorrilla. None of them are Rays, but suspect that they will have a player with that last name someday. In any event, let’s look at the existing “Zorrilla”s, who I have dubbed “The Zorilla Squad.”

Rafael Zorrilla came first, back in 1978. 5’11”, 155, Zorrilla hit .216 in 26 games as an 18 year old at Rookie ball in the Pirates organization in 1978 in his only professional season. Ben Zobrist was born three years later.

Next came Julio Zorrilla, a 5’9″, 166 speedy second baseman from 1994 to 2002 out of the Dominican Republic. Zorilla was a Mets signee and could steal bases, reaching his peak at 42 at Low-A in 1995. But Zorrilla could never get on base, managing just a .270/.312/.331 line, and played his final four season in independent ball before retiring at age 27.

Next came our first pitcher on the list, Reinaldo Zorrilla, a 6’0″, 170 Dominican right-handed reliever from 1999 to 2001. A White Sox signee, Zorrilla could never escape Rookie ball, posting a 5.56 ERA with 8.3 strikeouts per 9 innings but 5.4 walks as well and retired at age 19.

Next came another right-hander, fellow Dominican signee Junior Zorrilla (that’s his given name), 6’3″, 170, who signed with the Athletics as a 22 year old in 2003. Zorrilla was decent at Rookie ball, posting a 3.76 ERA, an 8.6 K/9, and a 4.4 BB/9 in 3 starts and 14 relief appearances, but was released and retired following the season.

Our third pitcher in a row is Moises Zorrilla, a 6’2″, 206 Dominican lefty who signed with the Royals in 2007, but his career ended after a 15.26 ERA and more walks than strikeouts in 7 appearances at Rookie ball.

Next up is a second baseman, Alexander Zorrilla, 6’1″, 169 who the Orioles signed out of the Dominican Republic. Zorilla never got past Rookie ball from 2008 to 2010 as he had some speed and could get on base, but never could hit well enough or hit for power. Zorrilla posted a .240/.342/.308 line with 38 stolen bases in 143 games before retiring at age 19.

And now to the actives. Janelfry Zorrilla, 6’3″, 180 is a Dominican centerfielder and right fielder in the Mariners organization. Zorrilla took four season to escape the Dominican Summer League after signing at age 17 in 2008, but broke out in 2011 with a .321/.405/.594 line with 21 doubles, 12 homers, 61 RBI, and 13 steals in 66 games. Zorrilla, now 21, has hit .122 in 13 games primarily at the Mariners’ Short Season-A affiliate.

And we close with Phillies signee Freddy Zorrila, a 6’4″, 195 right fielder who may be the talented of the bunch excluded Zobrist. Zorrilla, just 17, has impressed to a .370/.514/.593 line in 8 Foreign Rookie games with 4 doubles, 1 homer, and 7 RBI.

Good luck to the active Zorrilla’s and hopefully the Rays will draft one before too long.