It appears as though we may have a timetable for when Kyle Zimmer will make his major league debut.
Naturally, with the buzz surrounding Zimmer and his status as one of the top Royals prospects, we all want to see him in action at the major league level. However, after pitching only 108.1 innings last season in the minors, it would have seemed as though his debut likely would not come until 2015. Although Zimmer is going to be in the Royals major league camp for Spring Training, the odds are against his making the rotation this spring.
This season, it appears as though the Royals are going to take the same approach with Kyle Zimmer that they took with Yordano Ventura last season. According to the Royals assistant general manager J.J. Piccolo, the plan is to start Zimmer slowly, before letting him go later in the season with an eye towards having him in the majors in September.
“The goal would be to have him peaking in the minor leagues in late May, June, going into July,” Picollo said. “And then really ramping it up and taking the handcuffs off him, hopefully in a playoff run, and he pitches in September and hopefully October.”
That strategy is similar to how the Royals approached Ventura last season. After pitching 109.1 innings in 2012, Ventura pitched exactly 150 innings last season. Given the injuries that Zimmer has dealt with since being converted to a pitcher in college, including a bout of bicep tendonitis last year, it would make sense for the Royals to start him slowly this season. Chances are, Zimmer will begin the season back at Northwest Arkansas before heading to Omaha and making his debut in September.
Much like how Yordano Ventura has been told to go into Spring Training as though he has a spot in the Royals rotation this year, the same expectations exist for Kyle Zimmer. He is expected to not just compete for a spot in the starting rotation next season, but to be one of the Royals starters in 2015.
Perhaps this strategy will work out. It has been a strategy used by teams such as the Rays and Cardinals, where the young starters build up their innings count and give them a taste of the major leagues before counting on them to be mainstays in the rotation in the coming years. The Royals have tried this approach with Ventura, and Zimmer appears set to repeat that process this season.
We had been wondering when we could get to see Kyle Zimmer in a Royals uniform, and now it appears that we have an answer. Expect Zimmer to be in Kansas City in September, with an eye towards being a part of the rotation in 2015.