Kyle Zimmer made a name for himself in the 2011 NCAA Regional when he beat UCLA's Gerrit Cole last year. Since then he has been moving up the charts pretty rapidly and has had his name mentioned in the running for the top overall pick earlier, but is more consistently listed behind Mark Appel and Kevin Gausman as one of the top three college pitchers in the draft. Zimmer differs from the other top pitchers in this draft by being relatively new to pitching. He moved off of third base his freshman year of college and started transitioning into a pitcher.
At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds Zimmer is athletic, and has the frame and build of a pitcher. This season Zimmer's fastball has sat in the 94-96 range and has been clocked as high as 99. He accompanies that pitch with a hammer curve that has good sharp break when he stays on top of it but is inconsistent with the pitch, though it does flash plus potential with improved consistency. He also features a changeup, and the pitch has shown some promise of times, but right now the pitch is a below-average pitch. His changeup doesn't have much movement on it and often straightens out. He doesn't have very good command of the pitch right now, but does throw the pitch from the same arm slot as his fastball which could help with the pitches effectiveness if he can become more consistent with it.
Mechanically Zimmer features a very repeatable delivery and has no problem maintaining a consistent arm slot. He shows quite a bit of polish for somebody as new to pitching as he is. There has been reports that his velocity has slipped a tad from earlier this spring which has caused some scouts to question his durability as a starter.
With his velocity and hammer curve that features plus potential his floor is probably that of a late inning reliever and possibly closer. He has the bulldog mentality on the mound that has the makings of a successful closer. Injury concern is a risk for any pitcher, and it may be slightly increased for Kyle Zimmer as he is fairly new to pitching, but there is nothing in his mechanics that throw up any red flags.
Zimmer's ceiling is probably that of a good number 2 starter. He has two plus pitches right now as long as he can improve the consistency of his curveball. The real question here could be how well he is able to develop his changeup. As of now he is not very comfortable with the pitch which could leave him vulnerable to lefties.
Projected Draft Round
Consensus top 10 pick. Baseball America, Jonathan Mayo, and Keith Law all have him going fifth overall.
Will the Astros draft him
Zimmer's name was mentioned in the running for the top overall pick earlier this spring, but his name hasn't been linked to the Astros as the top overall pick recently. It's highly doubtful that he gets selected by the Astros.
Bibliography after the jump
Zimmer's fastball typically sits in the 94-96 mph range and gets as high as 99 and his hammer curveball is just as good. His changeup shows flashes, giving him the chance for three future plus pitches and he'll mix in an occasional slider that could be an average offering. Zimmer pounds the strike zone and throws all four pitches for strikes. He has a business-like approach on the mound and pitches with a bit of a mean streak, which scouts love. Zimmer's athleticism also helps him on the mound. He repeats his delivery well and fields his position like an extra infielder. - Baseball America
The curveball gets swings and misses when it's in the dirt and he threw several for called strikes, but he doesn't consistently finish it out front and he's going to leave too many of them up. His changeup should be a solid-average weapon against left-handed hitters, but the slider is a throwaway pitch that he tends to yank because he falls off too hard to the first base side.
He's a good athlete who fields his position well, as you'd expect from a converted position player. It's clearly a first-round arm, but I think there's enough doubt about him staying a starter in the majors to put him below the Mark Appel/Kevin Gausman/Michael Wacha tier of college starters for now. - Keith Law
Delivery/Mechanics: Quiet windup with good balance throughout. Slight pause at the top to gather himself and then explodes to the plate. Lightning quick arm with consistent arm circle and arm slot. Ball jumps out of his hand and he has good angle to the plate. Finishes completely. Typically on balance but will occasionally fall off to first base.
Overall Fastball: Velocity has spiked this spring. Shows consistent plus velocity instead of average to above-average velo as in past. Will go in spurts where he’s consistently 94-96 mph. Hasn’t shown he can maintain that throughout a start, could come with added conditioning and a pro throwing program. Some scouts would like to see him manipulate the movement of the ball more, but admitted that was quibbling.
Curveball (CB): Averages 75-77 mph. When on top, shows tight over-hand spin with plus-plus 12-6 break. Sharp, biting break that can miss bats both in the zone and when thrown as a chase pitch. Doesn’t always stay on top of it, typically when he overthrows the CB, leaving it flat and up in the zone. Potential plus, bat-missing pitch with more consistency. - Baseball Prospect Nation