One of the main goals for the Colorado Rockies this offseason was to fill out their bench, specifically by adding a left-handed outfielder capable of playing all three outfield positions.
MLB.com’s Thomas Harding reports that the Colorado Rockies have signed left-handed hitting outfielder Bradley Zimmer to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Major League camp in spring training.
Source: Left-handed hitting OF Bradley Zimmer has reached a Minor League deal with an invitation to Major League camp with the #Rockies. The club has been looking for a lefty batter who can play all three spots and spell CF Brenton Doyle.— Thomas Harding (@harding_at_mlb) February 6, 2024
Zimmer, 31, was once a highly regarded prospect for Cleveland after he was drafted 21st overall in 2014. He made his debut in 2017 at the age of 24 with sights on becoming the everyday center fielder in Cleveland. In his rookie season, he batted .241/.307/.385 with eight home runs and 18 stolen bases in 101 games as well as earning 5 DRS in center field.
Since then, he hasn’t quite panned out in the big leagues.
From 2018 to 2021, Zimmer batted .215/.312/.323 with 11 home runs in just 162 games with Cleveland. He was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays at the start of the 2022 season and was claimed off waivers by the Philadelphia Phillies in August where he played nine games before being claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays where he finished out the season. In 117 plate appearances over 109 games in 2022, Zimmer slashed .124/.207/.229 with a 25 OPS+.
He failed to play a game in the Majors last season, instead spending the year in Triple-A, splitting time between the Dodgers and the Red Sox. His batting results weren’t great, as he batted .210/.326/.346 in 82 minor league games.
In terms of being a left-handed hitter, Zimmer has been more successful against right-handed pitching. He sports a career slash of .216/.305/.350 with 17 home runs in 729 plate appearances against right-handers.
Strikeouts have been a hindrance to his career to the tune of a 33.7% rate. Additionally, he has struggled to draw walks. His walk rate is a below-average 7.8%. His ability to get on base despite a 67.9% contact rate quickly negates his speed that ranks in the upper percentile in baseball.
Zimmer’s bat has not developed over his career, but his defense has remained decent enough to handle any outfield spot. He holds a career DRS of 15 in the outfield, including 13 in center field. He has a 7.8 UZR at the big league level as well as a 14 OAA. The Rockies’ preference for an outfield depth piece was fueled by the desire to have a reliable glove capable of filling in for Brenton Doyle as needed.
Overall, he is the standard definition of a glove-first type of player that appears all but guaranteed a spot on the Opening Day roster unless the Rockies make any other moves.
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