Long Road for Pair of Royals Hopefuls

Kyle Zimmer made his third career Cactus League start and first of the year on Sunday, but it did not start well. After Raul Mondessi booted a ground ball by leadoff hitter Delino DeShields, who promptly stole second and then advanced to third on a Zimmer wild pitch. Zimmer proceeded to work a full count to Shin-Soo Choo before striking him out. Ryan Rua was next up and quickly fell behind 0-2, but turned on a 92 MPH fastball from Zimmer and deposited it on the top of the berm for a two-run home run.

In the second inning, Zimmer struck out Robinson Chirinos to start the inning, but walked Jurickson Profar before giving up a single to Doug Bernier and an RBI single to DeShields to end Zimmer’s outing.

Zimmer primarily threw fastballs in the game, sitting 92-93 but did flash 95. He did get over one very good curve at 75 MPH that was as good a pitch as he threw on the day. His mechanics did show a little stiff and deliberate. He finished by going an inning and a third, striking out two, walking one, giving up three runs, two of which were earned. Speaking with other scouts and people close to the organization, there is some concern about a drop in his arm slot leading some to believe he may be afraid to really let the arm fly.

Also playing for the Royals on Sunday was once a highly touted prospect in the Boston Red Sox organization, Garin Cecchini, who has fallen on rough times on the diamond in recent years. When he made his big league debut in 2014, there wasn’t a question as to whether or not he was going to be able to hit, it was whether or not he was going to be able to play third base well enough or become the latest smooth swinging left fielder. In his first taste of the big leagues, he hit .258 in 31 at-bats, then got to the plate just four times in 2015, failing to record a hit. That December he was traded to Milwaukee for cash, and spent the entire 2016 season in Triple-A before becoming a minor league free agent and signing with the Royals ahead of the 2017 season.

He has added some weight to his frame and has developed into a better third baseman, but the bat just has not gotten back to where it was when he was still a prospect. He rolled over and grounded out to the first baseman against Yu Darvish in the second, and again in the fourth off Dillon Gee.`

In the field, Cecchini was saddled with a throwing error on a Robinson Chirinos chopper. He handled the ball well but the throw just caught the lip of the dirt and grass and snuck under Hunter Dozier’s glove at first.

He is not on the 40-man roster and doesn’t have a real path to making the roster with Moustakas healthy this spring and Cecchini will likely share time with Dozier in Omaha this year.


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