Former Stony Brook left-handed pitcher Daniel Zamora signed a professional contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday.
Zamora, who was a sophomore this past season, was drafted in the 40th and final round of the MLB Amateur Draft earlier this month. Fellow Stony Brook pitcher Ryley MacEachern was also drafted last month in the 33rd round by the Miami Marlins, but has not signed a contract.
Zamora said he was surprised to hear that he had been drafted, as he found out about his selection in an unconventional way.
“I didn’t even know I got drafted until someone told me they saw it on their phone,” Zamora said. “I was like, cool.”
After getting drafted, the 22-year-old felt that it was time to leave school and accept a contract with a major league team.
“I felt it was the right decision and the right time to give professional baseball a shot,” Zamora said. “I just have to keep [pitching] like I did at Stony Brook and I will be fine.”
Zamora went 7-2 with a 3.03 ERA in 12 starts this year and played a pivotal role in winning Stony Brook its fifth America East championship. However, as a freshman, he struggled in the 2013 season then and missed all of 2014 with a torn labrum before developing into the Seawolves’ ace this year.
“It wasn’t easy,” Zamora said of his labrum injury. “But with the help of my doctors and trainers, I was able to get back to where I am today.”
This is the second time that the former Seawolf was selected in the MLB Amateur Draft. In 2012, Zamora was picked by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 27th round out of high school, but opted to pitch at Stony Brook instead of signing a contract. Three years after passing up on this professional opportunity, Zamora still believes that he made the right choice in coming to college.
“I matured a lot as a person and as an adult at Stony Brook,” Zamora said.
Zamora will now pitch for the West Virginia Black Bears, the Pirates’ Short Season Class-A affiliate. When he makes his professional debut he will become the 15th ex-Seawolf currently in professional baseball. Of those 15 players, only Detroit Tigers pitcher Joe Nathan, Miami Marlins pitcher Tom Koehler and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s pitching prospect Nick Tropeano have appeared in a major-league game. But Zamora said he hopes that someday, he will find himself on the exclusive list of Seawolves in the majors.
“I hope to work my way up the system and eventually make it to the big leagues,” he said.