The Kansas City Royals have a Big Three of pitching prospects that appear to be on the cusp of making an impact upon the major league roster. With Danny Duffy, Yordano Ventura and Kyle Zimmer, the Royals may find themselves with a mostly home grown rotation to pair with a bullpen that they assembled mostly from their system.
Duffy and Ventura, as it stands, are likely expected to play a big role in the rotation, and may be asked to help fill Ervin Santana‘s shoes. While one, if not both pitchers, are expected to become solid starters, perhaps to the point of being future second starters in the rotation, it is Zimmer that most analysts seem to feel has the highest ceiling. Right now, it is thought that Zimmer could be a potential ace in the making, developing into a pitcher that the Royals could build a rotation around for years to come.
Naturally, the Royals fanbase, and presumably the Royals themselves, are quite interested in seeing how well Zimmer could perform at the major league level. After all, the number of true aces, and not just pitchers that are considered an ‘ace’ because they are the top starter in a rotation, is likely under ten. Those kinds of pitchers just do not come around often, and need to be protected like they are the Hope Diamond.
In fact, the need to continue his development is a part of the reason why it may be unlikely to see Kyle Zimmer before September of this season. As much as it would be great to see the Royals top prospect in the majors this year, it has to be remembered that Zimmer has only pitched a total of four games above A ball. Yes, Zimmer was certainly impressive for the Naturals, going 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA while striking out 27 batters in 18.2 innings. Yet, it is also important to note that Zimmer only threw 108.1 innings in 2013. Is it worth starting him in Kansas City, even if he is lights out in Spring Training, when he may need to be shut down early to protect his arm?
In all likelihood, Zimmer will start the 2014 season in the same place he ended last year, with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Should he continue to perform as well as he had in his four starts at the end of last season, Zimmer would likely reach Omaha around June or July with an eye towards becoming a September callup once the rosters expand. Overall, Zimmer may see his innings pitched rise to around 130 to 150, with an eye towards getting him ready for a major league workload in 2015.
Kyle Zimmer’s time in Kansas City will come, and he may even make an appearance later this season. However, 2015 is a more realistic timetable as to when Zimmer is likely to make an impact upon the Royals