Tuesday lunchtime brought news of the latest prospect arrival in the form of the Bradley Zimmer of the Cleveland Indians. Zimmer does not quite have the can’t miss feel that many felt when Bellinger was called up just a couple of weeks ago. In fact he dropped from #31 to #62 in Baseball Americas pre-season prospect ranks for the start of 2017 and Baseball Prospectus was even more brutal dropping him to #80.
However, the reason for the drop was a lack of playing time in 2016 leading to just one home run and five steals in 2016 whilst hitting a measly 0.242. However, this season Zimmer has shown not just flashes of his old self but is currently out hitting anyones expectations with five home runs and nine steals whilst hitting 0.294.
Cleveland have made the call because of somewhat of an outfield crisis with Abraham Almonte, Brandon Guyer and Austin Jackson on the DL. The great thing here is that none of those names are so good that you can be sure the Indians would automatically send Zimmer back down when they come back from the DL. What I am saying is, that unlike Ian Happ, I truly believe Zimmer could be with the Indians for the foreseeable future and perhaps the full season.
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So what can we expect from him this year?
Well he is more of a speed guy than power but he has more than enough ability to have at least 10-15 HRs if he had a full major league season. Steals wise he is a legitimate 30 steal threat and was on pace for that this year in the minors. If I am projecting his line right now I would go for 7 HRs with 15 steals whilst hitting somewhere in the 0.260 region. His fantasy value is going to depend on his line-up spot and right now Roster Resource has him penciled in at 9 in the Indians line-up and my feeling is he could struggle to go much higher than 7 unless we see injuries to Kipnis or Brantley, which is highly possible.
Right now I think in all 14+ team leagues he is an absolute must add and if I am playing in a 12 teamer and have the roster flexibility I am gambling. The way he has started the year in AAA he has the ability to be the guy who just puts you over the top as a 3 or 4 category contributor with potential for a full 5 categories if things fall his way with the line-up spot.