According to a recent interview, Kyle Zimmer says he feels healthy heading into 2018. Coming off of thoracic outlet surgery this offseason, Zimmer will look to stay healthy for the first time in years, and finally make his MLB debut in a Royals uniform.
The question for Kyle Zimmer has never been talent. The kid’s arsenal is absolutely filthy: 95 mph fastball and probably the best curve ball in the organization. He doesn’t locate the ball perfectly all the time but his stuff is just so good that it doesn’t always matter.
No, the problem for Kyle Zimmer is not the talent level. The kid just has to stay healthy. By now you don’t need me to tell you this. It’s no secret. Everyone knows it, right? Right. Good.
This common thought is exactly why I’m writing this, because Kyle Zimmer appears to be healthy, folks. In a recent interview with MLB.com, Zimmer claims to be feeling well after his offseason surgery and threw a bullpen consisting of 25 fastballs the other day. This is absolutely fantastic news for those with a rooting interest in the Royals.
Here’s where the Royals are going to have to start making tough decisions. If Kyle Zimmer isn’t healthy, it’s really not difficult. Stay in Omaha until you are. Here’s the fun part: what if he really is healthy? Now what the heck do we do, WE DIDN’T PLAN FOR THIS!
Don’t worry, I’m here to help. Kyle Zimmer hasn’t thrown 40 innings in a season since 2015, and has only thrown 60 innings twice in his 6 year career. If Kyle Zimmer is healthy in 2018, he can not be thrust into the 8th inning role and be expected to throw 80 innings. He needs an innings limit, and he should probably be used in mostly non-to-light pressure situations.
Here are four rules that I would make Kyle Zimmer follow for a healthy 2018 season:
1.) I would start him in KC and never look back.
The last thing that I want Kyle Zimmer thinking about is his health. I understand how that sounds, “You don’t want him thinking about his goal?” No. Not this one. I want him to be able to relax and play baseball. He can’t do that if he’s in the minor leagues strictly focused on being healthy. Move him to KC, show that you’re confident in him, and let him start to work his way into a big league rotation.
2.) No more than one inning at a time until the All-Star Break.
Back to back nights is one thing, but I don’t want Zimmer on the mound anymore than is necessary. Don’t be greedy. Let him get some work in on his off days but don’t use him too much, too early.
3.) No high pressure situations until June.
A healthy Kyle Zimmer may very well have fans calling for him to be the closer after opening weekend. I would urge Ned Yost to be patient, even if he’s dominating early. Let him get a couple of months under his belt before we ask him to hold a lead in the 7th inning or beyond. Believe it or not, those innings can be harder on your arm than non-pressure innings. Let him work into the league before letting him close or something crazy.
4.) 60 innings or 5 months. No excuses.
Kyle Zimmer hasn’t thrown 60 innings since 2015. Don’t ask him to do much more than that in 2018. If he hasn’t reached 60 innings by September, and has been healthy for the first five months of the season, shut him down anyway. Five months is a long time to be conditioning an arm that has been oft injured through his career.
So there you have it. There’s my thoughts and opinions for handling Kyle Zimmer in 2018. What do you think Royals fans? I think this could be a huge year for the 26-year old righty.