Right-hander Kyle Zimmer, designated for assignment by the Royals last Friday, has cleared release waivers and is now a free agent, per a team announcement.
A former No. 5 overall draft pick and highly touted prospect, Zimmer was beset by injuries throughout his minor league ascent. He landed a spot in the Kansas City bullpen in 2020 and looked well on his way to cementing himself as a long-term piece when he posted a 1.57 ERA and a 28.6% strikeout rate in 23 innings. The 2021 season started well, as Zimmer carried a 2.45 ERA into early July, but he pitched to an 8.57 ERA with more walks (15) than strikeouts (14) over his final 21 frames of the season from that point forth.
Zimmer’s development hasn’t panned out as hoped, but he still has a ground-ball rate north of 50%, a fastball that averages 94.3 mph, a demonstrated ability to miss bats and a minor league option remaining. He’ll need to refine his command and right the ship after a rocky finish to the 2021 season, but Zimmer could make for a decent bullpen depth option for another club.