In the recent community mock draft at Minor League Ball, a SB Nation website devoted to prospects, Kyle Zimmer wasn't drafted until the tenth overall pick. While it is highly unlikely he could fall that far in real-life, there still is a chance that Zimmer, a twenty year-old pitcher at University of San Fransisco, could fall to the Marlins at #9. If Zimmer were to fall to the Marlins, I would be surprised if they didn't jump at the chance to draft a hard-throwing pitcher with top of the rotation upside.
Kyle Zimmer was born on September 13th, 1991 in San Francisco, California. He played four seasons of baseball at La Jolla High School, in which he was a dominating hitter who got on base almost half of the time. Zimmer is very athletic, so it doesn’t surprise me that USF decided to switch Zimmer to just pitching. Also, Zimmer had a 4.20 GPA is a senior in high school, placing him in the top fifteen percent of his class. That’s pretty impressive that such a baseball superstar could receive such high grades in his classes.
For me, I first heard about Zimmer before his sophomore season, when he was pitching in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball Summer League. His sophomore year, in 2011, Zimmer showed that his impressive reports over the summer weren’t just a mirage. In particular, his final start of the year, shutting down Gerrit Cole and the UCLA Bruins started to give Zimmer some well-deserved respect around the country. However, in 2012, Zimmer has been just phenomenal. His velocity has been as good as it’s ever been, and he has finally showed consistent dominance, game after game. The number that jumps out at me the most is his 104-to-17 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Zimmer has always been a fairly elite draft prospect, but this year, he has become one of the consensus top ten players eligible for the draft.
Zimmer stands about 6’4’’ and he weighs roughly 215 pounds. His fastball has been clocked at up to 98 MPH, and he also boasts a hard slider and a changeup. One thing that appears rather undeveloped in Zimmer’s repertoire is the ability to pitch low in the zone. Zimmer consistently pounds his fastball in the top half of the strike zone. While that might work occasionally in the majors, if you throw your fastball up in the zone regularly, you will get crushed. On the other hand, Zimmer is facing far less advanced hitters, so he hasn’t yet had a reason to keep the ball down, due to his exceptional velocity.
Kyle Zimmer’s slider is a lot better than you would expect from a raw hard-throwing twenty year old. It sits at roughly 80-82 MPH and he throws it fairly often. Pair that slider with a fastball in the upper 90’s, and Zimmer could turn into a pitcher similar to Michael Pineda, meaning he could quickly accelerate through the minors without developing his changeup.
After watching a couple of interviews with Zimmer, he seems prepared to answer questions from reporters after he gets drafted, and if he reaches the majors. While this isn’t a huge factor in where Zimmer will get drafted, if teams hear good things about his personality that can’t hurt his stock. Zimmer is intelligent and witty, as evidenced by his well-thought out responses to interviewer’s questions. He doesn’t seem like the type of person that will have off-field problems preventing them from reaching their potential.
I’m not going to try to pretend like I know which team will pick which player and why. Take the Mariners 2011 draft for instance. With the #2 overall pick, the Mariners were rumored to be considering SS Fransisco Lindor or high school pitcher Dylan Bundy, among other candidates. Nobody expected that the Mariners would take college left-hander Danny Hultzen. When the Mariners made that pick, it altered every team picking after the Mariners selection. While some still attempt to predict where players will be drafted, chances are they will be drafted in a completely different spot.
Most people think that Zimmer could be drafted anywhere from the first overall pick to the tenth. Personally, I don’t think that Zimmer will be available when the Marlins pick at #9. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t write an article about Zimmer and why the Marlins should draft him. The word on the street is that Zimmer won’t get past the Cubs at #6. If Zimmer isn’t available when the Marlins are picking, there will still be some other solid options, but none as appealing as Zimmer.
Kyle Zimmer is a very intriguing prospect. With his repertoire, he could become a solid #2 pitcher for many years. Even though the Marlins already have a solid pitching rotation, and they have many other pitchers being brought up in the system, by drafting Zimmer, the Marlins would likely draft the best player available, which is always a good idea. The 2012 MLB Amateur draft is going to be crucial for the Marlins, and if Zimmer was still available at #9, the Marlins would be making a huge mistake by passing on him.