The Toronto Blue Jays knows how to find a diamond in the rough.
The organization nabbed hard-throwing relief prospect Cole Kimball off waivers from the Washington Nationals on Wednesday. The right-hander would not have been available to the club if not for the rotator cuff surgery that was performed on him in 2011. He appeared in just 24 games last season, 12 at the MLB level.
When I was writing the FanGraphs Top15 prospect list for the Nationals in late October '11 I considered Kimball for inclusion but he was ultimately left off due to the severity of his injury (rotator cuff injuries are notoriously difficult to recover from) and the increased level of talent in Nats system. Baseball
Kimball, 26, has a nasty repertoire. It includes a fastball that sits 92-98 mph, a plus splitter and a curveball. His control is currently below average and the time off probably won’t help. He has the stuff to succeed as a high-leverage reliever but he could very well top out as a set-up man due to his control issues.
The former 12th round draft pick probably won’t be ready to pitch in a competitive game until mid-2012 and may not be ready to pitch at the MLB level until late 2012 or the beginning of 2013. The Jays will be able to stash him on the 60-day disable list for much of next season while he rehabs.