Once-vaunted prized prospect, Bradley Zimmer has done everything but live up to the hype that came with drafting the outfielder.
Bradley Zimmer, now 28-years-old, is staring down at his last chance to make it in the Majors. The once-vaunted outfield prospect has only played 164 games in four years, all while not playing well during that stretch of time.
The La Jolla native is a career .224 hitter, with 11 home runs, 51 RBIs, 24 stolen bases, 41 walks, and 164 strikeouts to his name. The former first-round pick was supposed to be the next great player for the Indians, being called up in 2017 as a 24-year-old rookie. Poor play, then a string of injuries over the next four years derailed his career.
Now with names like Nolan Jones, Eddie Rosario, Josh Naylor, Jake Bauers, and others looking to vie for playing time in 2021, Zimmer’s run out of excuses. If he doesn’t produce there isn’t going to be a 2022 season for him with Cleveland.
That doesn’t mean that Zimmer can’t succeed at this age. Former All-Star Chris Davis was 27 when he finally broke out. Former MVP and embattled All-Star Josh Hamilton was 27 as well when he finally had his first big season. Jorge Posada didn’t become the Yankees full-time starter at catcher until he was 29. Speaking of 29-year-olds, Jose Bautista was another who was nearly 30 when he had his first big season.
So the hope for Zimmer isn’t totally gone, but where he falls in the Indians’ future has changed. He’s no longer a guy that the team is banking on, but a guy the team hopes can get anything from. He’s gone from the guy the team was building towards, to the guy the team might keep around just to see what he turns into.
With guys like Jones, both the Naylor brothers, Bobby Bradley and about 34 different shortstops, the need for Zimmer to turn into the pro the team had hoped he would isn’t there anymore. The need for him is gone, but the hope for him remains.
At least for one more season.