Pitching Prospect of the Day: Kyle Zimmer, RHP, Royals (High-A Wilmington): 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 13 K. On this night, Zimmer looked exactly like the pitcher the Royals envisioned when he was selected fifth overall in 2012. Zimmer’s fastball was working 96-97 with more life and good control and command. The curveball was an absolutely dominant pitch at 79-83 with hard downward snap. He used the slider and changeup sparingly, but that is okay with me, and here is why: I’ve talked to many people in the industry who have been confused by Zimmer’s shortcomings earlier in the year. I can give you a multitude of excuses or responses on why he had these shortcomings, but the underlying point was always, “Well, the stuff is still really good!” The only realistic theory that made sense to me was that Zimmer was going to his slider, his worst pitch, far too often. This may be something that the Royals encouraged him to do for developmental reasons, but I believe this recent success should be attributed to the fact that he is attacking hitters with his best offerings; 20.0 IP, 12 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 26 K in last 3 starts.
Position Prospect of the Day: Chris Owings, SS, Diamondbacks (Triple-A Reno): 4-4, 3 HR, 3 R, 5 RBI. The arrow is pointing upward for Owings, and as you’ll see with many of these players, something more in-depth is on the way in the very near future; .348/.369/.481 with 23 2B, 3 3B, 8 HR, and 15 SB in 399 at-bats.
Other notable prospect performances on July 9:
- Carlos Contreras, RHP, Reds (High-A Bakersfield): 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K. Contreras is taking steps forward in 2013, and I will explain in the near future how many steps forward I believe he is taking.
- Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pirates (Low-A West Virginia): 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. My love for Glasnow has not been hidden; I wrote that he was a very promising arm in my first major article at Baseball Prospectus. The Pirates are taking it slow with him, and that is not a problem. The only thing I now wonder is, if the Pirates believe this is their year to make a playoff push, could another team take advantage of the win-now plan and snag Glasnow in exchange for helping the 2013 squad? 19.0 IP, 12 H, 3 ER, 7 BB, 25 K in last four starts.
- Luis Sardinas, SS, Rangers (High-A Myrtle Beach): 3-4, 2B, 3 R, BB, K. Jason Parks and Jason Cole are sitting in on the Myrtle Beach series, and they had very good things to say about Sardinas. “Potential plus hit tool, easy plus glove, and plus-plus runner” was the report; .512/.563/.659 with 3 2B, HR, 15 R, and 4 SB in last 41 at-bats.
- George Springer, CF, Astros (Triple-A Oklahoma City): 4-5, 3B, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI. The arrow is pointing upward, and I will have much more coming on Springer in the very short future; .375/.490/.700 with 2B, 4 HR, and 5 SB in 40 Triple-A at-bats.
- Domingo Tapia, RHP, Mets (High-A St. Lucie): 6.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. Tapia has a heavy fastball that can reach the upper 90s, and a potential plus changeup with good fading action. Tapia needs to develop a consistent breaking ball if he would like to remain a starter, but if it never comes, a future as a high-leverage reliever is always a possibility.
- Gregory Bird, 1B, Yankees (Low-A Charleston): 0-4, 3 K. Bird received a seven-figure bonus, and now that he’s no longer catching, his future depends entirely on his bat.
- Shelley (Slam) Duncan, OF, Rays (Triple-A Durham): 0-6, 3 K. I don’t know why I put him in, but I really enjoy the nickname.
Frederick Keys Lineup, Orioles (High-A Frederick): 5-32, 18 K. I was at this game, and after really enjoying Nicky Delmonico early in the season, I’m not sure it is going to work for him. He will not be able to play third base long term, and I don’t think he provides enough with the bat to profile at first base. They have a catcher, Michael Ohlman, who has some raw power, but my intuition tells me that his swing will not work against quality pitching, and he is a well-below-average receiver behind the plate. Finally, Christian Walker has never been one of my guys, either, and I’ll explain why in the near future.