May 17, 2017
The Situation: The Indians outfield is in dire need of help due to the injuries to Abraham Almonte, Brandon Guyer and Austin Jackson. Also, while Michael Brantley has hit fairly well so far, his playing time is being managed cautiously given his recent injury history. They have addressed this situation by calling up Zimmer, one of their top prospects (No. 3 in our 2017 Indians organizational ranking).
Background: Cleveland selected Zimmer 21st overall in the 2014 amateur draft, and the start of his first full pro season could not have gone much better. After he slashed .308/.403/.493, hit 10 homers, and stole 32 bases in 335 plate appearances for High-A Lynchburg, he was named to the Carolina League All-Star team and participated in the Futures Game. However, he struggled with Double-A Akron in the second half of the season, in large part because he tried to play with a hairline fracture in his right foot. The 24-year-old’s stock fell in 2016 after striking out 115 times in just 407 plate appearances with Akron, and 56 times in 150 plate appearances for Triple-A Columbus. Zimmer got off to a better start with Columbus before his promotion, as he slashed .294/.371/.532, along with five homers, nine stolen bases, and “only” 43 strikeouts through 144 plate appearances.
Let's hear from him, thanks to T.J. Zuppe of The Athletic Cleveland:
Scouting Report: There is absolutely no concern about whether he has the tools to thrive at the big-league level. They are all above average or better with a particularly intriguing power-speed combination. The primary concern is the high strikeout rate in the upper minors, especially against lefties. His left-handed swing is extremely long, and to be fair, he is 6’4.’’ Fortunately, despite these swing-and-miss problems, he has maintained a patient approach and consistently gets on base. His ability to track the ball in centerfield has improved and is certainly athletic enough to stick at the position long term. With 20-20 potential, Zimmer has the chance to develop into one of the better outfielders in the league. His floor is likely a platoon role.