Whiff machine Curtis tabbed in sixth round

Whiff machine Curtis tabbed in sixth round

When you see Zac Curtis' name, you think he's missing a K.

Take a look at his stats as a senior this past year at Middle Tennessee State and you'll see plenty of them.

Curtis, who led the nation with 136 strikeouts over 114 innings, was selected by the D-backs in the sixth round (180th overall) of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft.

The 21-year-old left-hander was 9-3 with a 1.89 ERA in 15 starts this season with five complete games and two shutouts. Curtis is a finalist for the 2014 Gregg Olson Award presented by Toolshed Sports. The award is given to the top amateur baseball player who elevates his game to an elite level throughout the season.

"A little bit of a crossfire delivery," D-backs scouting director Ray Montgomery said of Curtis, who was scouted by Nate Birtwell. "He's managed to make the collegiate hitters swing and miss and that's always a good sign for us."

Curtis transferred from Volunteer State Community College to MTSU before his junior season and was the team's No. 3 starter.

This past year, though, he vaulted his way into ace status.

Curtis' best pitch might be his sharp, biting slider.

"The guy knows how to pitch," Montgomery said. "He changes speeds, he mixes and he matches. You can't trick guys into strikeouts like that."

The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 10 a.m. MST.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. Adam Lichtenstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.