The Cleveland Indians promoted outfielder Bradley Zimmer over the weekend, calling up their top prospect to the big leagues and giving him a first taste of The Show. Life is good early on for the outfielder, who got both his first hit and his first home run in the same Wednesday game for the AL Central club.
The University of San Francisco product has a patient, advanced approach at the plate with a very, very good understanding of the strike zone and an astute ability to draw a walk and work a deep count. That combination alone should allow him to come up to speed pretty quickly the big leagues. Below, we’ve got a full Bradley Zimmer scouting report, plus two full videos of his at-bats at the Arizona Fall League and a series of GIFs breaking down the Cleveland Indians prospect’s swing mechanics.
Bradley Zimmer MLB debut: what to expect
An advanced hitter who can really draw a walk, Bradley Zimmer had a decent 2016 split between Double-A and Triple-A, but flipped it into a very strong Arizona Fall League showing last offseason. He then made his Major League debut earlier this week after tearing up the International League with Columbus over the first month of the 2017 season. You’ll know he’s right when he’s walking at a high rate; the outfielder walked 77 times in 130 games last year, and then 19 more times in 22 AFL games in October and November, a sign that he’s been seeing the ball extremely well and has been patient in his approach. He’ll strike out his fair share, too (171 whiffs in 130 2016 games alone, plus 26 more in the AFL), but that’s as much of a byproduct of him working very deep counts in nearly every at-bat as it is having some swing-and-miss in his game (though there is some of that, too).
Zimmer’s power is at least average, if not slightly above, with some scouts going so far as to think he’ll hit 20+ home runs in the big leagues. Personally, I’m a little more skeptical about that much power after seeing him hit in the Fall League, but he does have a smooth, quick stroke from the left side and more than enough size to generate leverage in addition to his bat speed. With the amount of strikeouts he’s had already in his professional career, it’s not likely he will ever hit for average. But if his on-base numbers are high even in spite of those strikeouts, he can overcome an average hit tool with that shrewd eye and be a top-of-the-order mainstay. On the bases, Zimmer is fast with good instincts, and he displays above-average speed and the ability to steal 30+ bases at the big league level.
Defensively, Zimmer uses that speed well, too, and he couples it with very good jumps and reads on the ball. Because of that, he should find himself staying in center field for much of his career. He can play all three outfield positions as needed, though, and his arm is slightly above average so it wouldn’t be unforeseen if he’s moved off to right field in the long run, too. Above all, he has the raw tools to succeed in the big leagues coupled with a knack for getting on base via the walk that will only continue to come out stronger as he advances. He’s got the athleticism to play center field long term, too, and will get every shot to one day soon become an everyday outfielder for the Cleveland Indians. Yes, he’ll strike out a lot, and yes, he’ll take some long at-bats, but the sum total is a guy who gets on base quite a bit, can show a little bit of power, and can run well once he’s given the opportunity.
Bradley Zimmer video
Here’s our first Bradley Zimmer video from the Arizona Fall League:
And our second:
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Bradley Zimmer GIFs
In addition to video of the Cleveland Indians prospect, we’ve broken out a few Bradley Zimmer GIFs for those looking for something more immediately shareable to Twitter, etc.
Have at it:
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