Royals See Plenty Of Ceiling With Zimmer
KANSAS CITY—Scouting director Lonnie Goldberg said the Royals got not only a polished pitcher, but a fresh arm with an elevated ceiling when they selected righthander Kyle Zimmer with the fifth overall pick.
Zimmer went 5-3, 2.85 in 13 starts as a San Francisco junior. He was a third baseman when he entered college at 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, but was a hard-throwing 6-4, 220-pounder on draft day.
"He's got a big league body right now," Goldberg said. "He's able to command four pitches. He's got a plus breaking ball and the scary part for us is we still think he's got a huge ceiling left when you look at him as a fresh arm, a young kid who won't be 21 until September.
"We're getting a guy we think is already pretty polished, but we also think is a guy with a ton of ceiling. The good thing with him is he's got so much ceiling. There are some minor things he can work on. He may even take off and be better than what we think he is."
The Royals' biggest need this season is starting pitching and Goldberg believes Zimmer won't be in the minors long.
"I think he's got the talent to pitch up here right now, but I think there's a lot of seasoning he's got to get through," Goldberg said. "My guess is his talent and his makeup will allow him to get here when he needs to, but I'd say within two years."
Baseball America rated Zimmer as having the best fastball and the third best curveball among all collegiate prospects for this draft. In 88 1/3 innings, he allowed 76 hits, struck out 104 and walked 17.
"We got a guy we think is a front of the rotation starter," Goldberg said. "It's something we wanted to make sure we attacked in the draft. He was the No. 1 pitcher on our board. He was the guy we wanted, the guy we targeted. To be honest, we were fortunate, real happy and real lucky he was still there.
"We're getting a guy who is going to fill the strike zone up. He doesn't walk guys. He strikes out guys and he does it with four pitches."
At the end of the season Zimmer was battling a strained hamstring.
"I tweaked it going for a bunt," Zimmer said. "I pitched through it. I didn't get a chance to rest it that much. I've been at home resting it this week. I feel great it."
Zimmer said off the mound he is "easy going and a jokester" but on the mound has an "animalistic approach."
• The Royals signed righthander Tim Sexton, who was released by the Dodgers after going 3-6, 6.86 last year with Triple-A Albuquerque.
• The Royals released lefthander Andrew Dobies, who they signed last year from an independent league, and catcher Travis Jones, a 50th-round pick in 2008.