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Better Know Your Blue Jays 40-Man: Bradley Zimmer

Kansas City Royals v Cleveland Indians Photo by: 2021 George Kubas/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Bradley Zimmer came to us in trade from the Guardians (I will get used to that name one day) for reliever Anthony Castro. Castro is on Cleveland's active roster. He pitched an inning yesterday, giving up a run in his inning of work.

Zimmer is a left-handed hitting outfielder, 29-years-old. He's played parts of the last five seasons in the majors, hitting .225/.310/.344 with 19 home runs and 39 stolen bases in 263 games.

He is a former first-round draft pick. A former top prospect, he was #31 and #62 on Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects in 2016 and 2017. He was thought of as a "5-tool player', with speed, power, glove, average, could take a walk, and had a good arm. All that stuff.

His sprint speed was measured at 29.7 feet per second by Statcast, trailing just Billy Hamilton and Byron Buxton (and just .1 ahead of Raimel Tapia). His throws from the outfield have been measured above 100 mph. In addition, he can hit the ball hard. Career, his hard hit percentage was 34.2% (balls hit over 95 mph.

So how could we pick him up for a reliever who wouldn't make the Jays staff?

Well, he hasn't been making contact, a career 33.3% strikeout rate. It is pretty tough to be a valuable hitter like that, unless a lot of the contact made is leaving the park. So he hasn't established himself as a major leaguer.

But then, in less than two seasons' worth of games, he has a 2.6 fWAR, so we could do worse for a fifth outfield (and we have).

The question is, why add him when you have Tapia. They seem like very similar players. Both lefty batters, very good defensively, were well thought of prospects, and neither has turned their potential into success in the majors.

Zimmer has played more center field and has a better arm. But then, the difference between the two isn't much. I guess the Jays can hope they can help him learn not to chase so many pitches. Maybe some improvement in the strikeout rate will happen.

In the long run, I think one of them won't be on the team by the end of the season. I don't see the point in having both. I don't know how each can get enough playing time to make it worthwhile.

PECOTA figures him to play in 76 games, hitting .210/.310/.362, with 8 home runs and 9 steals. But then, this was before the trade. I'd be surprised if he plays 76 games with us. But who knows.

Poll

By season’s end

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    Both Zimmer and Tapia will still be with the team
    (50 votes)
  • 38%
    Just Zimmer will still be with the team
    (143 votes)
  • 23%
    Just Tapia will still be with the team
    (88 votes)
  • 23%
    Neither will still be with the team
    (86 votes)
367 votes total Vote Now

Poll

If the over/under o Zimmer’s games played is 65 I’d take the

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    Over
    (56 votes)
  • 76%
    Under
    (185 votes)
241 votes total Vote Now

Poll

If the over/under on Zimmer’s OPS is .680 I’d take the

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    Over
    (103 votes)
  • 52%
    Under
    (114 votes)
217 votes total Vote Now