The Kansas City Royals today announced the club has signed first-round draft choice Kyle Zimmer, the fifth overall selection in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. Consistent with team policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
The 20-year-old Zimmer, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound right-handed starter, went 5-3 with a 2.85 ERA in 13 starts, including three complete games, for the Dons in 2012. 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 last month. Zimmer was also a member of the 2012 WCC All-Academic team, posting a 3.72 GPA.
Born in San Francisco, Calif., he 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. He then posted a 6-5 record with a 3.73 ERA last season, including outdueling 2011 first-overall selection Gerrit Cole and the UCLA Bruins, 3-0, in a four-hit complete-game shutout with 11 strikeouts in a NCAA regional game on June 3, 2011.
Zimmer is the 23rd pitcher to be selected by the Royals in the first round and the first since 2011 All-Star Aaron Crow in 2009.