After going undrafted after a breakout junior year, Ohio State shortstop Zach Dezenzo will finally have his shot in the big leagues. On Tuesday, the Houston Astros chose him in the 12th round of the 2022 MLB Draft, making him the second Buckeye selected and the No. 373 player overall.
Dezenzo follows Ohio State right-handed pitcher TJ Brock, who was the first Buckeye taken off the board in the sixth round by the Toronto Blue Jays. Brock was the 188th player chosen in the MLB Draft.
In 2021, Dezenzo recorded a .302 batting average with nine home runs and 21 RBIs. That summer, he starred in a wood-bat MLB Draft league with a .339 average and a league-leading six homers — including one blast that went 447 feet — in 14 games.
Still, Dezenzo didn’t receive any calls from professional franchises. So he went back to work for then-head coach Greg Beals.
“I decided to bet on myself and come back for a fourth year at Ohio State,” Dezenzo told The Canton Repository. “I’d say it worked out.”
Denzezo improved his batting average to .319 as a senior and led the Buckeyes with 54 runs, 18 doubles, 54 RBIs and 19 home runs. His 19 homers tied him with Dan Seimetz for the program record. Dezenzo earned second-team All-Big Ten honors for his efforts.
In the 2022 Draft League, Dezenzo batted .275 with four home runs and 15 RBIs across 20 games for Mahoning Valley.
Dezenzo played shortstop in high school and college but projects as a corner infielder in the pros. He experienced shoulder inflammation for most of the 2022 season, forcing Beals to put him a first base instead of his natural position as captain of the infield. Dezenzo played first base, third base, and left field in the draft league.
The Alliance, Ohio, native doesn’t know when he starts his career in the minor leagues, but he’ll worry about that when he gets there. For now, he feels grateful for what he’s experienced thus far, especially during his four years with the Buckeyes.
“All the numbers and accolades are very cool,” he said. “But I think the thing I’ll take away the most is how I was able to develop as a man and in terms of my character. In four years, going from a bright-eyed kid at 18 years old my freshman fall, to where I’m at now, I think the growth is very cool to see. I’ve met some great people and some great teammates along the way that are going to be in my life to the end of it.”