2012 MLB Draft Prospects: RHP Kyle Zimmer of the University of San Francisco

Mike Rosenbaum@GoldenSombreroMLB Prospects Lead WriterApril 9, 2012

Kyle Zimmer: Could he be selected No. 1 overall come June?
Kyle Zimmer: Could he be selected No. 1 overall come June?

Position: RHP

Height/Weight: 6'4", 215 lbs.

DOB: Sept. 13, 1991

Bats/Throws: R/R

College: University of San Francisco

2012 Stats: 8 GS, 54.3 IP, 2.15 ERA, 2.97 FIP, 9.94 K/9, 1.16 BB/9, 0.88 WHIP, .218 BAA

Draft Projection: Top 10

Kyle Zimmer has a prototypical pitcher's frame at 6'4", with lengthy limbs and wiry strength. He is an excellent athlete and often receives better grades for athleticism than anything else—a terrific sign given the fact that he only logged 5.1 innings as a freshman. 

As a sophomore in 2011, the right-hander fanned 89 batters in 91.1 innings while registering a 3.73 ERA. However, what really put Zimmer on the map was when he out-dueled the No. 1 overall selection in the 2011 draft, Gerrit Cole, in an NCAA regional game.

Although he was actually recruited by the University of San Francisco as an infielder, Zimmer possesses so much raw arm strength and athleticism that he was bound to eventually wind up on a mound, even as an experiment.

He's added a lot of extension and length to his delivery, and Zimmer is far more solid on the backside than he was early in his pitching career—which can be expected from a converted infielder or catcher. 

A quality delivery requires enough length to provide the time necessary to reach a repeatable release point from a healthful slot. Zimmer now definitely has a delivery that allows him to do that. 

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He has been up to 97 mph (and even higher depending on who you ask) this spring and has the potential to flash a triple-digit readout at any time, though he typically operates in the 92-96 mph range.  Zimmer could stand to use his velocity to attack hitters up in the zone when ahead in the count, but thats something that will come with time. With a potentially triple-plus fastball and some polish to his delivery, Zimmer has already asserted himself into the No. 1 overall discussion.

His secondary stuff is behind the fastball, but doesn't lag behind as much as one would expect given his lack of experience on the mound. Zimmer's low-to-mid-70s curveball already grades as a 50 (with potential to be a 60), and his low-80s changeup, while fringy now, has shown enough promise to assume that it will be, at least, an average offering down the road.

Zimmer commands the ball well to both sides of the plate, and his numbers back up his projections.  He has filled out physically since arriving at USF, and he still has some room left to grow. 

His changeup has already looked better in his spring starts than it did in the Cape Cod League, and he has done a better job using his breaking ball to complement his fastball. All of this highlights Zimmer's propensity to listen and react to criticism. His makeup is off of the charts, especially when considering the fact that he's pitching as a 20-year-old.

I will be shocked if Zimmer isn't one of the first 10 names off the board in the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft in June, and with a strong finish to his spring season, Zimmer has the potential to be the No. 1 overall pick.

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