2019 Level: AA/AAA
Pitches (current/future value)
Most Likely Future Role: Swingman/long relief
Ceiling: #4/#5 starter
What we know: Zimmermann really improved his outlook in 2019, he went from 87-91mph to 89-94 with even a few 95s. The slider improved as well with the increased armspeed and the changeup plays better with the improved fastball. While the fastball has average lefty velocity, it plays below it’s velocity due to it’s tame movement profile. The curveball isn’t great, but it is improving and is good enough to drop a few for strikes later in outings.
What we don’t know: Zimmermann is mostly a finished product, but the biggest question is how the fastball will play against MLB hitters. Despite the improved velocity, it’s still hittable. Will he have the feel for the changeup and slider in particular to pitch backwards when necessary?
What we think: Zimmermann will have some big league usefulness, at least as a up and down guy. I like his chances to be a steady long relief option who can give a respectable spot start when needed. The changeup is the key to his success because it’s his best swing and miss pitch, plus it helps keep hitters off the fastball. If he maxes his pitchability and command, then he could find himself holding down a spot in the back of a rotation.
Another Take: Zimmerman improved a lot in 2019 and put himself on the prospect scene with an improved fastball, slider and change up. While they are improved, he still lacks that plus go to pitch to miss major league bats. the sum of parts though gives him an excellent opportunity to be a middle or long reliever and if he continues to improves and gains a plus go to pitch, he can end up a back of the rotation starter. (Tony Pente)