Kyle Zimmer #22 – 2013 Top 100
Kansas City Royals
Date of Birth: September 13th, 1991(age 21)
Origin: 1st Round Pick(#5 overall) in 2012 out of the University of San Francisco
Steve Fiorindo: When I saw Zimmer last year, his outing wasn’t spectacular. In fact, it was somewhat forgettable as he wasn’t overly sharp, but he flashed the goods that got him selected at the top of the first round. There’s a lot to like about him as a pitcher: power fastball, power curveball, solid command, and a good enough changeup to keep batters honest.
If his elbow hadn’t needed a little bit of a clean up, he might have landed a little bit higher on this list. While there’s no substantive reason to assume that his cleanup surgery will be a recurring issue, there’s also every chance that it could nag him throughout his career. Only time will tell.
On a personal note, I hope Kyle Zimmer goes on to have a long and prolific career. I want to be able to watch him pitch for Kansas City for many years so I can look back and remember the first time that I saw him pitch for USF down at Loyola Marymount. It isn’t a hard game for me to forget, because when I was leaving the game I found out that my father had passed away, April 14, 2012.
Conor Dowley: Zimmer is a classic power pitcher, with mid-90′s velocity and the ability to reach back for more when he needs it. His curve is an absolute hammer, and he has an intriguing changeup with tough late movement when he has it working right. His athleticism is also a massive virtue; it makes his delivery much easier to repeat, and that and his previous experience as an infielder make him a very good defender for a pitcher.
The only real concern I have with Zimmer is health. His season ended early thanks to a cleanup surgery to remove some bone chips in his elbow, and that’s the kind of thing that can crop up several times over a career. If he can stay healthy, though, Zimmer could be a premium pitcher in the bigs sooner rather than later.
Evan Rentschler: I share the injury worry, because in addition to the bone chips, Zimmer also suffered through a balky hamstring his junior year. These aren’t as alarming as shoulder issues or more serious elbow damage, and there’s a good chance that they’re just speed bumps, but both are the sort of nagging ailment that can be chronic as Steve points out. There was some effort in his delivery in college that I’d also like to see attenuated, but it’s not a deal breaker.
Zimmer is a corollary to Matt Barnes for me in that the first usable video I saw of him was courtesy of a Bullpen Banter member, with Steve being the man behind the lens on this one. I remember being frightened for Zimmer (and his catcher, Steve, and anyone within fifty feet) as I watched him throwing at close to 100% in the bullpen that kicks off the footage. They’re also similar pitchers, with their fastballs and breaking balls essentially equivalent.
I would give Zimmer a slight edge between the two, as do our rankings. This is mostly based on his impressive athleticism, the plus command it should engender, and his more advanced change-up. Having suffered through disappointing injuries and unexpected struggles of what was supposed to be the core of a championship Kansas City rotation (fans are looking at you Luke Hochevar, Aaron Crow, Mike Montgomery, and John Lamb), Zimmer may finally be the man who mends the collective broken heart of long-suffering Royals fans.
Fantasy Outlook by JD Sussman:
Zimmer, a top 25 prospect, is obviously a must own in deep formats and could move quick enough to justify holding onto him in shallow keeper and AL-Only leagues too. I expect he finishes the year in Double-A, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he debuted this season. He’s behind Yordano Ventura on the depth chart, but he if performs well he could justify the call if the Royals contend.