After a quick promotion, could right-handed pitching prospect finally be on track to pitch in Kansas City? What role could he fill for the KC Royals?
Kyle Zimmer has been one of the more hyped pitching prospects in KC Royals history. There has been one problem though. Staying on the field. Zimmer in the past has had multiple injuries that have caused him to pitch about one season worth of baseball in four seasons.
This has been particularly frustrating because of his potential. Kyle Zimmer has been stated to have top of the rotation talent as a starter and elite ability as a reliever. Here’s what MLB.com had to say about him.
"When he’s at his best, Zimmer showcases frontline-starter stuff with a 92-97 mph fastball that has reached triple digits, a hammer curveball and flashes of a solid slider and changeup. Originally recruited by the University of San Francisco as a third baseman, he’s a fine athlete who has no trouble repeating his mechanics and delivering strikes. If he can stay on the mound — a big if — he can help the Royals in the near future."
The Royals and many others have hoped the issue has been solved. After only pitching in three games last year, Zimmer had Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Surgery last summer. Many hoped that this would clear up many of his injury issues.
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Zimmer came into Spring Training this year on the outside of a roster spot. Sure enough, he was sent down to AA Northwest Arkansas, making one start. He pitched a solid 4 innings, surrendering 1 run, while striking out 6.
With a flurry of roster moves recently, Zimmer found himself quickly on the AAA roster. He made his first start last night, pitching 4.2 innings, giving 4 hits, 2 runs, while striking out 4.
So overall on the year, he has a nice 10 strikeouts to one walk.
Anyway, I say this to you because I think he can be a major factor for the KC Royals this year. With the struggles of Matt Strahm and the stockpile of lefties in the pen, the KC Royals could be looking for more bullpen depth quickly. And a lot of that is in the minors.
I really like the thought of Kyle Zimmer in the bullpen. As a reliever, he can reach upper-90s with his fastball and then play with his superb slider and changeup. You could possibly be looking at a future bullpen ace.
Zimmer does have experience pitching out of the ‘pen too. If you look back to 2015, Zimmer pitched 17 games as a reliever, with most of them coming in NW Arkansas. And he was beautiful.
In 32.1 innings of work, Zimmer posted a 1.39 ERA, allowing opponents to a batting average of .191. His command backfired a bit in the bullpen, walking 12. But at the same time, he fired off 41 strikeouts.
A good comp for Zimmer would be Jim Johnson. After struggling to stay healthy at an early point in his career with the Baltimore Orioles as a starter, Jim Johnson quickly made the switch to the bullpen, pitching wonderfully for a period time, even making an all-star team.
Zimmer joins a few other 40 man roster options for the bullpen. Flamethrower Josh Staumont, who recently threw a gem in his second career AAA start. Righty Miguel Almonte, who looked good in his first start of the year.
If Kyle Zimmer can stay healthy, he could be a big factor for the Royals in the short run and especially the long run. With the bullpen off to a slow start, it might not be too long before you finally see Zimmer pitching in a Royals uniform.