After a storied career on the mound and at the plate for the Mountaineers WVU baseball’s Braden Zarbnisky has signed a pro contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.
The announcement was made Wednesday afternoon via WVU Baseball social media platforms.
— WVU Baseball (@WVUBaseball) July 22, 2020
Zarbnisky, an outfielder and right-handed pitcher, joined the Mountaineers in 2016 and played a lot of baseball for the team since despite his final season being cut way short due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Following the NCAA Division I Council’s announcement of granting spring sport athletes another year of eligibility, Zarbnisky told the media he would be weighing his options, but ultimately signed the dotted line in Philadelphia. Infielder Kevin Brophy, also a senior, announced last month that he will use his extra year of eligibility and return to WVU for next season.
The Marietta, Georgia native had 412 at-bats and made 50 pitching appearances in his first three seasons in the gold and blue.
In 52 games of is sophomore season, he hit .336 with a .417 on-base percentage. He also stole a dozen bases and scored 32 runs. As a pitcher in 2017, Zarbnisky appeared in 23 games, throwing 39.1 innings with a 2.75 ERA and a 6-2 record with six saves. He struck out 46 compared to just 21 walks and allowed only seven extra-base hits.
After the season Zarbnisky was named a Third Team All-American, District II Player of the Year, Big 12 All-Tournament Team, All-Big 12 First team and was a John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Finalist.
Following his 2018 season, Zarbnisky had to sit out the entire 2019 season with an injury. He watched from the dugout as WVU enjoyed one of its best seasons in program history, hosting a regional championship for the first time since the 1950s.
Zarbnisky looked forward to his return in 2020 and started off well, but the world had different plans. In the 16 games he and his team suited up this season, Zarbnisky batted .431, collecting 28 hits, 13 stolen bases and 16 runs scored. In his four appearances on the mound, he had pitched 4.2 scoreless innings.
Zarbnisky is the first player from this past season’s West Virginia team to sign as an undrafted free agent. He may have been selected in the draft, if this Summer’s MLB Amateur Draft had not been shorted to five rounds due to coronavirus. Undrafted free agents can sign a contract for a maximum of $20,000 this year.