The KC Royals saw some success stories in 2020 and for two pitchers in particular, continued success in 2021 would help the team progress.
Happy Holidays and welcome back to Kings of Kauffman’s “KC Royals Wish List” series. For the 12 days leading up to Christmas, our writers will share their holiday wishes for the Royals. Whether they’re more offseason improvements, success in 2021, or hope for the future, anything could be in store. Today, our wish is for more success for Jesse Hahn and Kyle Zimmer.
There are often players in an organization that some fans just want to see succeed. Even when they have down years, it’s obvious they have been putting in the work to get better, and want to help their team. KC Royals fans likely know a lot about this.
There are plenty of players that have come through the Royals organization who see small successes but struggle to put together anything big. While many fans like those players, unfortunately, there is a point where the experiment has to come to an end.
For Jesse Hahn and Kyle Zimmer, many may have thought their time with the Royals was going to end before the 2020 season. Both seeing their struggle with injuries, 2020 was one of their final shots to show what they could really bring to Kansas City.
For Jesse Hahn, he needed to get back to his numbers from the beginning of his career. For a season in San Diego and one in Oakland, he was primarily a starter and had decent seasons, showing that he may have what it takes to stick in the majors. He started to struggle though, and then before the 2018 season, his first with the Royals, he was put on the injured list and missed the season.
In 2019, he pitched 14.1 innings between the majors and minors, but his few in the majors were rough. The Royals felt he was still worth it, though, and gave him a one year contract for the 2020 season. He responded with 17.1 innings of 1 run ball and a 0.52 ERA and 2.56 FIP out of the bullpen.
Hahn still has to prove he can maintain his success, but he gave the Royals exactly what they wanted.
For Kyle Zimmer, the story is similar, but he just needed to make his way to the majors and stay. Zimmer was a first-round pick in the 2012 draft and proved in the minors that he had potential. Unfortunately, he couldn’t seem to stay healthy. Injury after injury caused him to miss time, and his numbers suffered more as he reached Triple-A ball.
Still, the Royals wouldn’t give up on him. In 2019, he finally made it to Kansas City, but struggled through 18.1 innings with a 10.80 ERA and walked 9.3 batters per 9. Luckily, 2020 was better.
Zimmer still struggled with a few minor injuries but was able to pitch 23.0 innings in 2020 and gave up only 4 runs for an ERA of 1.57. He saw a huge decrease in walks and upped his strikeouts.
Zimmer was waiting for his chance, and the Royals were happy to see him succeed.
So, for today’s wish, we want continued success for both Hahn and Zimmer. These are two pitchers who never gave up and continued to put in the work, even when their future was clouded.
The Royals never wanted to give up on these two, and their patience was finally rewarded in 2020. While the sample size was small, these two pitchers showed a spark they hadn’t had in years. They will play an important role in the future of the Royals and make the bullpen dominate again.
If anyone deserves continued success, it’s Hahn and Zimmer, so here is to wishing they see it in 2021 and beyond.
Jesse Hahn and Kyle Zimmer finally saw some progress in 2020, and our wish today is for continued progress and success.