Senior first-round MLB draft pick Kyle Zimmer returned to school at USF this semester, and is working toward a degree in Business Administration. In June of 2012, Zimmer was drafted No. 5 overall by the Kansas City Royals, the highest draft pick in the 106 years of baseball at USF.
The right-handed pitcher attended spring training last March and then played most of the season within Kansas City’s farm system. As a top pitching prospect for the Royals, he was likely to have been pulled up for his big league debut in September — until minor shoulder stiffness forced an early end to the season for the former Don. He was pitching for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, the Royals’ Double A affiliate, when he was ordered to take the last month of the season off to rest his pitching
arm.Although missing the end of the season wasn’t ideal for the 22-year-old from La Jolla, Calif., it has given him the opportunity to return to USF in time for the start of the fall semester.
“They were just playing it safe and decided to shut me down a couple weeks early,” Zimmer explained. “I was planning on still coming here [to USF] at the end of the season, I would have been about a month behind…it would have been tough.”
He is taking four business classes this semester and will have about three more to go before he graduates. While finding time to fit in the last three will be a challenge, Zimmer is determined to get them done somehow — and his 3.8 GPA is a testament to his dedication to education. He figures it’s better to come back to school now, before he gets too far removed from college life.
“I just felt like this would probably be the best time if I was going to do it, just because I think every year life gets more and more in the way,” Zimmer said.
He’s also glad to be back at USF while his younger brother, some of his former teammates, and some friends are still around. His brother, junior Bradley Zimmer, is currently an outfielder for the Dons, though this upcoming season could be his last at USF if he follows in Kyle’s footsteps and gets drafted in June.
Zimmer still spends a lot of time working out here — running and doing core workouts, mostly — but it’s been a much different experience attending USF while not participating in a sport.
“It’s different, it’s definitely a lot different,” he said. “I’ve just been sort of hanging out and having fun, compared to last time when I was completely swamped with baseball.”
He doesn’t always know what to do with his free time, and while he is enjoying some of what he’s learning, he is mostly focused on waiting for baseball to start up again. If only he could really work toward the “minor in baseball” that he jokingly says he’s earned.
“I’m taking an advertising class that I like a lot, it’s pretty fun… other than that I’m honestly just counting down the days until spring training next year, because I’m already starting to miss it,” Zimmer said.
He’s allowed to start throwing again in December, when his shoulder stiffness will likely have run its course. The next step will be spring training, and then seeing where he ends up from there.
“Hopefully I’ll be going to major league spring training with a chance to make the major league team [there],” Zimmer said. “I’ll probably start the year Double A or Triple A, and then get called up June or July.”