The Kane County Cougars, in conjunction with the Kansas City Royals, have announced that pitcher Kyle Zimmer has joined the Cougars from the Surprise Royals (Arizona League). Zimmer is the highest overall draft selection to play for the Cougars since Adrian Gonzalez, the first overall selection in the 2000 draft who patrolled first base during the team’s 2001 championship season. Zimmer will be in uniform tomorrow and is expected to start for the Cougars on Thursday night. Thursday’s first pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and tickets are available by calling (630) 232-8811 or visiting kccougars.com.
Zimmer, a right-handed pitcher, went 5-3 with a 2.85 ERA in 13 starts, including three complete games, for the University of San Francisco in his junior season this past spring. In 88.1 innings, he allowed 76 hits, 28 earned runs and 17 walks, while striking out 104. Zimmer led the West Coast Conference in shutouts (2), strikeouts and strikeouts per nine innings (10.6). Baseball America rated Zimmer as having the best fastball among all collegiate prospects and his curveball as the third-best in the collegiate ranks. He was named a preseason second-team All-American by Baseball America entering 2012 and to the 2012 Midseason USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Watch List earlier this season. Zimmer was also a member of the 2012 WCC All-Academic team, posting a 3.72 GPA.
Born in San Francisco, Calif., Zimmer attended La Jolla (Calif.) High School in the San Diego area where he played four years of baseball, mostly as a third baseman, while also competing in water polo and basketball. Serving mostly as a position player, he pitched a total of 21.1 innings during his high school career. Zimmer converted to pitcher his freshman season at USF, but only made five appearances that year.
Zimmer made his professional debut earlier this month for the Surprise Royals, pitching in 3 games and posting a 0.90 ERA in 10 innings with 13 strikeouts, including his first professional win on Saturday.
At press time, no corresponding roster move has been made to maintain the Cougars’ active roster at 25 players.
Notable First Round Picks to Play at Kane County
Charles Johnson (’93) – 28th overall selection in 1992 draft
Mark Kotsay (’96) – 9th overall selection in 1996 draft
Josh Beckett (’00) – 2nd overall selection in 1999 draft
Adrian Gonzalez (’01) – 1st overall selection in 2000 draft
Joe Blanton (’03) – 24th overall selection in 2002 draft
Jemile Weeks (’08) – 12th overall selection in 2008 draft