Royals expect early arrival for Zimmer
Kyle Zimmer acknowledged he did not know as much as he should about the Royals, who drafted him with the fifth overall pick in the first round Monday.
"But I'll start doing a lot more research now," said Zimmer, a University of San Francisco right-hander with a fastball clocked as high as 98 mph.
This information should help Zimmer's research: Kansas City starters have a 17-22 record and an ERA above 5.00. They are averaging just more than five innings a start. Exhibit A was Monday night's 10-7 loss to the Twins, when left-hander Will Smith was yanked after 4 2/3 innings, having given up seven runs.
Royals scouting director Lonnie Goldberg views Zimmer as a front-of-the-rotation starter.
"It's something we wanted to make sure we attacked in the draft," Goldberg said.
The Royals have not drafted and developed an ace since Zack Greinke, who was their first pick in the 2002 draft, won the 2009 American League Cy Young Award and traded to the Brewers after the 2010 season.
Zimmer, 20, went 5-3 with a 2.85 ERA in 13 starts as a Dons junior. He struck out 104 and walked only 17 in 88 1/3 innings. He came on the scouting radar screen June 3, 2011, when he threw a four-hit, 3-0 shutout of UCLA in an NCAA regional game, striking out 11. The losing pitcher was Gerrit Cole, the first overall pick in the 2011 draft. Zimmer also pitched well in the summer Cape Cod League.
"The good thing with him is he's got so much ceiling," Goldberg said. "There's some minor things he can work on. He may even take off and be better than what we think he is.
"He was the No. 1 pitcher on our board. He was the guy we wanted, the guy we targeted. To be honest, we were fortunate, real happy and real lucky he was still there."
Goldberg believes it won't be long before Zimmer will be in the Kansas City rotation.
"I think he's got the talent to pitch up here right now, but I think there's a lot of seasoning he's got to get through," Goldberg said. "My guess is his talent and his makeup will allow him to get here when he needs to, but I'd say within two years."
LHP Everett Teaford, who threw another bullpen session Monday, likely will begin a minor league rehab assignment this week, manager Ned Yost said. Teaford went on the disabled list May 19 with a lower abdominal strain. Yost said Teaford would be stretched out so he could be used as a starter or long reliever. Teaford is 0-1 with a 5.73 ERA in three appearances, including one start, this season with the Royals. He was 2-1 with a 3.27 in 26 games, including three starts, as a rookie last year.
LHP Will Smith's third major league start did not go well. He gave up seven runs on eight hits, three of them home runs, and two walks in 4 2/3 innings Monday. Smith has a 9.00 ERA and has allowed six home runs in 14 innings, and it's uncertain whether he will get another start.
3B Mike Moustakas had three of the Royals' eight hits Monday. Moustakas belted his ninth home run to lead off the second inning and doubled in fourth and sixth innings.
RHP Aaron Crow, prior to Monday, had a 1.74 ERA in his previous 23 outings, allowing four earned runs in 20 2/3 innings and holding opponents to a .167 batting average. Crow, however, yielded two runs on three hits in 1 2/3 innings in the Royals' 10-7 loss to the Twins.
LHP Bruce Chen, who starts Tuesday, is 2-5 with a 5.46 ERA in 18 appearances, including six starts, against the Twins. In an April 29 start at Minnesota, he was knocked out in 2 2/3 innings, his briefest outing of the season, giving up six runs on six hits and two walks.
BY THE NUMBERS: 5-14 The Royals' record in series openers.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "At the time we were tied. I was counting on the two guys, either (Jarrod) Dyson putting the ball in play with the infield playing back to give us the lead, or Q (Humberto Quintero) getting a big two-out hit. I thought we had two opportunities. Neither one of those things happened. It was the right play. I felt like if we could take the lead going into the fifth inning, we would be in pretty good shape. You can look at it a number of different ways. You can bunt; you can't bunt. My decision was to bunt there. It put us in a perfect position to take the lead or maybe even a two-run lead at that spot. We didn't get the job done." Royals manager Ned Yost on having SS Alcides Escobar put down a sacrifice bunt after the Royals had scored three runs in the fourth, but Dyson and Quintero struck out looking.