Less than a day removed from the first round of the 2012 MLB draft, Kansas City Royals fans are a-buzz about RHP Kyle Zimmer out of the University of San Francisco.
First, a few comments made by Nino Giarratano
Nino threw out a comparison of Zimmer to Stepehen Strasburg and believes Zimmer could easily be MLB ready before the end of the 2012 season. Giarratano says Zimmer has the ability to get out both left handed and right handed hitters and all Zimmer does is throw strikes, with a 104K/17BB in 2012, using all four pitches: 4 seam fastball, slider, curve and changeup.
A converted infielder, Zimmer drew first-pick buzz early in the spring, hitting 96-97 mph in his initial starts. A midseason game at Loyola Marymount showed that he had cooled off, as he sat in the 89-93 mph range that day and was cuffed around. Zimmer throws a weak 81 mph change but features an outstanding, sweeping 78 mph curveball. Mechanically, Zimmer’s arm action should be freer and easier, he needs to add more leg drive and should eliminate a stiff-legged hop in his delivery finish. He projects as a solid No. 2 or 3 starter.
Draft Grade: B+
Zimmer was a third basemen entering college, and three years later he is one of the most coveted pitchers in the draft.
His fastball has been clocked at 97 mph, and is able to produce high velocity deep into ball games.
As he continues to learn the finer points of being a pitcher, the ceiling is extremely high for Zimmer. He’ll be able to help the Royals sooner rather than later.
Great pick for the Royals here. I’m sure that they’re pumped they got him, as he’s another arm with tremendous upside and little mileage.
This one isn’t so much a draft grade, but an interesting tid-bit about a possible change in Royals pitching philosophy.
Kyle Zimmer figures to be a good test case on the elasticity of baseball’s old guard. Drafted by the Royals with the fifth pick of the first round, Zimmer is a long-toss devotee who has utilized Jaeger’s throwing program under the tutelage of pitching coach Greg Moore at the University of San Francisco. The throwing program is a big reason why Zimmer went from being a lightly recruited third baseman three years ago to the fifth pick in the draft, so why would he want to change? More importantly, why would the Royals want him to?
I probably would have taken Giolito or Appel, but, I’m going to go ahead and give this a very slight passing grade.
Rosecrans gives more of a player bio than a draft grade, but worth a read, nonetheless.
When he topped last year’s top pick, UCLA’s Gerrit Cole, in the NCAA Regionals last season, Zimmer shot to the top of draft prospect lists. He’s done nothing to hurt that during his junior season with the Dons, going 5-3 with a 2.85 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 88 1/3 innings, while walking just 17. A third baseman out of high school, Zimmer moved to the mound at San Francisco because of his strong arm. He throws in the mid-90s and has touched 99. He has a great curveball, a good changeup and a slider.
The Royals also bypassed Mark Appel. Zimmer has the better fastball, touching 97 mph at times, and with his plus curve, he probably possesses superior upside to the Stanford right-hander. How quickly he moves will depend on the progress he makes with his changeup. He’s definitely not as far along with his third pitch as either Appel or Kevin Gausman.
A very athletic pitcher (He actually came to college as a hitter) who hasn’t been focusing on pitching that long, Zimmer has made huge strides in a short period of time. There are some injury concerns with him but his fastball sits in the mid-90s and he also shows a potentially-plus curveball.