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Carlos Zambrano

From Academic Kids

Carlos Alberto Zambrano (born June 1, 1981) is a Major League Baseball right-handed starting pitcher who plays for the Chicago Cubs. He was born in Puerto Cabello, Carabobo State, Venezuela.

Zambrano, an imposing figure at 6'5" and 225 pounds, was signed by the Cubs as an amateur free agent in 1997 and made his debut in 2001. After being used in both starting and relief duties, he enjoyed his first full season as a starter in 2003, finishing with a 13-11 record, 168 strikeouts and a 3.11 ERA. He was also a major contributor in the Cubs' run to the National League playoffs, in which they would come up five outs shy of the World Series, losing to the eventual world champion Florida Marlins.

Zambrano has been noted for his vibrant personality on the mound. He allows his emotions to be readily evident, always indicating whether he is happy with his performance or not. Zambrano's pitches match this eclectic nature, as every pitch in his repertoire has significant movement. He relies on a two-seam fastball in the low 90s, a slider, a split-finger fastball, and also throws a straight four-seamer, making him among baseball's hardest pitchers to hit. His main weakness is a lack of pinpoint control, leading to a tendency to surrender walks. Nevertheless, Zambrano seems to be hurt less by giving up walks than most pitchers, due to the fact that batters hit many more groundballs than flyballs against him. This can be attributed to the sinking movement of his fastball. He rarely surrenders home runs (34 in his career) and often induces double plays.

In 2004, Zambrano led his team in ERA (2.75, 4th in the league), won 16 games (tied with teammate Greg Maddux), collected 188 strikeouts, and led the league in hit batsmen (20). He also got his first All-Star berth.

So far in 2005 (as of May 31), Zambrano has thrown three one-hitters in the season. Cubs manager Dusty Baker stated that he believes Zambrano will throw a no-hitter sometime in the 2005 season.

In a four-year career, Zambrano has a 34-29 record with 453 strikeouts and a 3.25 ERA in 539.2 innings. A switch-hitter, he won't embarras himself with the bat, either bunting or swinging away. He is a .198 hitter (35-for-178) with three home runs and 11 RBI.

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