RHP KYLE ZIMMER, USF
School: University of San Francisco
Hometown: La Jolla, California
DOB: September 13, 1991
I had originally planned to do a focus piece on another player this morning, but I caught a glimpse of an interesting conversation on USF right-hander Kyle Zimmer in our chat room and decided to profile him instead. Tomorrow I will post on Oklahoma State’s prized left-hander Andrew Heaney.
The most important thing to know about Kyle Zimmer is how fast he has vaulted from someone in the 20-25 range of the draft at the beginning of 2012, to a player some now believe will challenge Stanford’s Mark Appel as the top pick in the draft. Appel had been widely regarded as the hands-down consensus choice for the number one overall pick, but Zimmer keeps garnering more interest everyday and making new believers as well.
Zimmer, a California native, can bring it home at 99 mph and his fastball consistently sits in the mid to high nineties range. His 12-6 curveball is absolutely lethal and reminiscent of, wait for it… Dwight Gooden. But hey, here is what some of the experts have to say.
MLB Draft Countdown projected Zimmer as the number two pick in their latest mock draft, and in a just updated scouting report they wrote:
There’s no denying that Zimmer has the tools to warrant a top overall selection, including a mid-to-high 90s fastball that has touched 98 mph already this season, and a knee-buckling curveball. He’s also earned rave reviews for his athleticism. He also has the dominating stats that make teams less nervous.
Through those six starts, Zimmer has mustered only two victories, but he’s held down an impressive 1.62 ERA while racking up 45 strikeouts in 39 innings. He’s walked a mere six batters. His best effort came a couple of weeks ago against Hawaii. The right-hander struck out 11 and allowed just three hits in a nine-inning complete-game shutout.
Interestingly enough, Zimmer followed up that gem with his second consecutive complete game shutout on Saturday. Zimmer lowered his ERA to a sparkling 1.62, while striking out nine and walking only one in the game. The All-American standout now has a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 45-to-6, and opposing batters are now hitting just .181 on the season against this amazing right-hander.
USF pitching coach Greg Moore details just how formidable and impressive Zimmer’s arsenal is:
“I would say the curveball is better than the slider, but they’re both good, solid pitches because he throws them for strikes so often,” Moore said. “He throws two different curveballs, just changes speeds. He throws a very firm one that’s almost like a big split that drops hard, and another one he’ll just drop in there for a strike. Last week was the best velocity we’d measured on his curveball. When he throws it to lefties, he will move it to the back foot and probably have two-plane action. But mostly he’s throwing it in the middle of the plate with good downward plane.”
Here is what one scout told Baseball America after watching Zimmer last month in a start against San Jose State:
“His first pitch was 97, the next was 98. He never threw a pitch under 93, and the first 22 pitches were all strikes,” a National League area scout said. “He clearly jumped to the front of the pack for being 1-1 (the first pick in the first round). He has the best curveball in the area, and he’s an 80 athlete. We’re not talking about a guy that just has good stuff. He’s an off-the-charts athlete—as good an athlete as you can get.”
There’s a lot to love here, and while earlier mocks had Zimmer being there when the Mets select in the first, don’t count on that happening now. The Houston Astros or Minnesota Twins are going to land themselves an absolute stud and this one is so polished he may even make his major league debut in 2013. Enjoy this video of him taken a couple of weeks ago.