Unfortunately for fans of the Kansas City Royals, the suspense of whether prized pitching prospect Kyle Zimmer will make the Opening Day roster is essentially gone. That’s because Royals assistant general manager J.J. Picollo says the team plans to keep Zimmer in the minors for the first few months of the season.
The really interesting things for Royals fans to watch this Spring Training is how well the 22-year-old looks after being shut down last August with right shoulder tightness. His performance even in spring training could help set Royals fans’ minds at ease by not having to worry about any lingering effects from the injury.
Based on his results last season, Kansas City can expect some pretty solid production when he’s ready to make the jump to the majors. Combined between High-A and Double-A in 2013, Zimmer went 6-9 with a 4.32 ERA. Those numbers aren’t all that impressive, but his numbers in Double-A were actually drastically better than his numbers in High-A. In 18.2 innings in Double-A, Zimmer went 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA.
Improvement while moving up the minor league ladder is a very solid sign especially for a pitcher. Since Zimmer is young he has plenty of time to develop, but his sheer talent is enough to convince Picollo that the team could use him in September and October on a potential playoff run.
Zimmer throws a fastball that usually stays between 94- and 96-mph and compliments it with a plus curve that drops quickly out of the zone. He also throws a changeup, but doesn’t rely on it heavily because he doesn’t have great control over it. His fastball-curveball combination is what got him drafted No. 5 overall in the 2012 MLB Draft.
As Spring Training rolls on, Zimmer shouldn’t be trying to do too much and Royals fans should just be looking for their elite pitching prospect to progress as he recovers and moves forward in his major league career. It’s hard to forget that he’s only 22 years old, but as long as Zimmer stays healthy while working through the minor leagues this season, he could be pitching in Kansas City for the playoff push.