Taking the Next Step: What to Expect this Season from Bradley Zimmer

Bradley Zimmer comes into this season as the most experienced second-year player. He played 101 out of the 162 games. He would have played more of the season if it wasn’t for his broken hand after diving into first base. That injury took him out the rest of the season. Zimmer was a consistent and reliable center fielder both offensively and defensively, but last year was only the start for him.

One of the biggest strengths of Zimmer is his speed. Based on his 29.9 meters per second sprint speed, he is the third-fastest player in the league behind only Billy Hamilton and Byron Buston. Zimmer is able to factor in his speed to both his defensive and offensive play. As a center fielder, he is able to have a larger range than most outfielders. Now that he has most of a season under his belt, I expect him to improve even more on the defensive side with the experience he has. As a baserunner, he runs with more effort than most players. Most players wouldn’t dive into first base to be safe, but not Zimmer. Unfortunately, that sometimes puts him into danger by breaking his hand last year. For being so fast, though, he only had 18 stolen bases. Yes, he led the team in stolen bases after only playing 101 games, but I would expect more from the third-fastest player in the league. Especially since he runs with so much drive. The leader in the American League had 34.

At the plate last season, Zimmer had a .241 batting average and .307 on-base percentage. For a rookie, this isn’t terrible, but could definitely improve. He seemed to go on hot streaks and then go into slumps on and off, without any consistency. Zimmer is not much of a power hitter totaling only eight home runs and 39 RBI in the season, but was able to record 41 runs. If he gets on base, it is a great thing for the team; however, he isn’t one to drive others in. He also had the second-most strikeouts on the team with 99. For only playing 101 games, that’s almost one strikeout a game. This is a big issue he needs to work on.

Zimmer was a great defensive center fielder last year as a rookie and should earn the starting spot throughout the year. His offense does worry me. He needs to be more consistent, take advantage of his times on base with more stolen bases possibly, add some power to his game and try to minimize the strikeouts. I know this seems to be a grocery list of things for him to work on, but what can you expect for only a second-year player? On the other hand, I do fully expect Bradley Zimmer to improve and lead the outfield this year. Can’t wait to watch him this season!

Photo: ESPN


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