(Photo: Nicholas Badders/WCSN)
On Wednesday afternoon, Arizona State head coach Tracy Smith announced that senior Sebastian Zawada left the program at ASU in order to prepare for Independent Baseball or the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft in June.
“Basically, he decided that, in a very amicable way, decided that he wanted to not be a part of the program anymore and more or less prepare or try to prepare himself for opportunities with independent baseball or potentially the Major League draft,” Smith told media before practice on Wednesday. “We’re going to try and help him realize and reach those goals.”
2016 was Zawada’s first year with the Sun Devils, where he played in 47 games, predominately being used in the designated hitter role. In the 47 games, he hit .250 in 152 at-bats, with 21 runs batted in and 14 runs scored. His eight home runs were tied for the team lead along with Colby Woodmansee and David Greer.
Zawada started only five of the team’s first 16 games in the 2017, where in 19 at-bats, he collected two hits for a batting average of .105.
“In his mind, he didn’t think it was fair to continue coming,” Smith said. “I get you admire situations like that because it’s a tough role being a senior and not playing, so your choices are you can be negative and ruin relationships with everybody or realize and identify what you really want to go and pursue that. I really applaud his decision. We ask guys, we don’t ever expect you to accept your role, we ask you to embrace it. And you can see for yourself what’s going on, we’ve got some pretty good battles going on at DH right now and he had kind of fallen to the back of the line on that and rather than be a distraction, rather than be negative, he chose the high road and is going to work toward that. And the cool part about it is that some independent opportunities will happen for him, so that’s that.”
Zawada’s departure gives the team only three seniors and puts the team’s roster at 33 players.
According to Smith, “He’s on good terms, he left the program on good terms, we wish him nothing but the best. And we’ll look forward to seeing how that works out for him.”