ZEBULON, N.C. - Carolina Mudcats pitcher Noah Zavolas has been voted the 2019 Carolina League Pitcher of the Year, as announced today by the league front office. Zavolas additionally earned Starting Pitcher All-Star honors while teammate Mario Feliciano earned Most Valuable Player and All-Star honors at catcher on the honorary year-end All-Star team.
At the time of the announcement, the 23-year-old Zavolas was 6-5 with a 2.98 ERA, 23 walks, 102 strikeouts and a Carolina League best 1.14 WHIP over 22 starts and 133.0 innings pitched. Zavolas was also the Carolina League's leader in BB/9 (1.56), K/BB (4.43), FIP (3.21) and xFIP (3.36) while also ranking second in earned run average (2.98) and second in innings pitched (133.0).
"It's a huge honor," said Zavolas. "Having (Manager Joe Ayrault) pull the team together and announce that news with everyone there was a special moment, something that I wouldn't have traded. Especially given being shutdown and still being here with the guys. If it was going to happen, this is the right place for it to happen."
The right-hander reached his innings limit following his 22nd start of the season on August 8 at Down East and after working through 133.0 innings overall for the year. Zavolas totaled a team best 11 quality starts in 2019 and pitched through the sixth inning 14 total times. He also pitched through the seventh inning eight times, went through eight full innings twice and once through the ninth as he tossed a nine-inning, complete-game, two-hit shutout with a career high 11 strikeouts on June 23 in Potomac.
"He's one of the most prepared guys that I've come across in terms of being ready to go time in and time out," said Mudcats Pitching Coach Cam Castro. "I think he learned himself a little bit this season. Learning how to attack hitters differently, learning how to sequence them, learning how to set up his pitches and learning which of his pitches played the best and where they played the best. I'm excited to see him take the next step in his career, whatever that might be."
The Beverly, MA native, on top of being the Carolina League's Pitcher of the Year, was also a mid-season Carolina League All-Star, was twice named the Carolina League's Pitcher of the Week and was Milwaukee's Minor League Pitcher of the Month for the month of June this season.
Zavolas finished the first half of the season at 3-3 with a 3.60 ERA over 13 starts and 75.0 innings pitched. He also totaled 53 strikeouts against just 12 walks and pitched to a 1.29 WHIP while earning All-Star honors for the first time in his professional career. He also went 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA over 30.0 innings pitched and five starts in June while also totaling 23 strikeouts and only six walks en route to earning his Brewers organizational honor that same month.
His first Pitcher of the Week award, meanwhile, came during the week of June 23 and after pitching through a complete-game, two-hit shutout with a career best 11 strikeouts on Sunday, June 13 in Potomac. Zavolas began that complete-game gem with nine straight outs before allowing a lead off single in the fourth and a double with one out in the fifth. He then went on to finish that spectacular outing by retiring the final 16 batters faced in consecutive order in what his first start of the second half. His second Pitcher of the Week honor came in early August for the week ending on August 4 after he pitched through six scoreless innings and totaled eight strikeouts on August 1 versus the Down East Wood Ducks.
The Harvard product was acquired by the Brewers on December 21, 2018 as part of a trade with the Seattle Mariners that included OF Domingo Santana going to the Mariners and OF Ben Gamel and Zavolas going to Milwaukee. The Mariners originally selected Zavolas in the 18th round of the 2018 Draft, making the 2019 season just the second of his professional career. The 2019 season was also both his first full season as a pro and his first as a starter as he spent his first professional season in 2018 as a reliever with rookie level Everett and High-A Modesto in the Seattle farm system. Zavolas combined to go 5-2 with a 3.03 ERA with 11 walks and 41 strikeouts over 19 games between both levels last season.
Zavolas is the second Mudcats pitcher in team history to earn the Carolina League's Pitcher of the Year award, joining Cody Anderson who won the same award following the 2013 season. Former Mudcats pitcher Travis Wood was additionally named the Southern League's Most Outstanding Pitcher during his 2009 season with Carolina.
Voting for the year-end All-Star team, and for the 2019 Carolina League superlatives, was done by league managers, team general managers and local media.
The Carolina Mudcats are the proud Carolina League, Class-A Advanced affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. First established in 1991, the two-time Southern League Champion Mudcats are currently in their 29th consecutive season of baseball at Five County Stadium in Zebulon, N.C. The Mudcats are owned and operated by the Milwaukee Brewers.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.