Zimmer

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Wham with the Right Hand

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It seems like the front office is high on Bradley Zimmer. Here's a quote by Antonetti less than two weeks ago:

Bradley’s [Zimmer] continued progression and the consistency with which he’s approached his at-bats has been really good to see. He’s working, and has settled in both with an approach at the plate and also some things with his swing that have now provided him a good foundation for consistent success. - Antonetti, 8/30/21

And from Terry Pluto:

Zimmer is finally healthy after three years of various injuries. He was more open to working with the hitting coaches this season, and it paid off. - Pluto, 8/28/21

At 28 it looked like things were starting to come together. After starting the season with only two extra-base hits in his first 96 at-bats, he finally got his third on July 16. But on that date his OBP was a whopping .377 as he was drawing a lot of walks and getting plunked a lot, too. Zimmer has been hit by 12 pitches this year; the next highest is Josie with 7. He's second highest on the team in walk percentage behind Jose.

The extra-base hits started to come as he had four in July and seven in August, which was when Antonetti provided the quote about Zimmer having established a good foundation for consistent success. He's tailed off in September, going 3-for-24 with an OBP of only .250, but that could be a temporary slump. Hopefully he gets going again and finishes strong. But he's only been hit four times since Aug. 1. It seems like pitchers are learning that he does not move in the box and sticks that elbow out. The other day he got hit by a pitch on the upper arm and the umpire ruled he leaned into the pitch and denied him first base. It seems like the umps are learning, too.

So I don't know what the plans are for Zimmer going into next season and I'm wondering if he can maintain that high OBP if pitchers stop hitting him. As of July 30 his OBP was .366, but it has been falling for six weeks and is down to .345. I just don't know if you can have a corner outfielder with a .689 OPS even if he's excellent defensively and has 13 steals in 15 attempts. (IMO, he doesn't run nearly as much as he should).

He still strikes out a lot; a whopping 41%. I love the defense and speed on the bases. Maybe if he were an excellent centerfielder with a .360 OBP I could live with the strikeouts and lack of power. But he's only hitting .215/.574 against lefties and 29 RBI's in 241 at-bats doesn't cut it for a right fielder on a championship contender. Even as a platoon guy I don't see it; he's only hitting .244/.731 against RHP's.

Another poster pointed out that his BABIP of .370 is unsustainable - no player in history has a BABIP that high. So his batting average, which is only .237, is likely to come down the more he plays. Zimmer's OPS+ this year is 91, easily the highest of his career, but still 9% below average.

He does occasionally run down a fly ball most right fielders would not get to and his throwing arm prevents runners from taking extra bases and in many cases stops them at third base on a single.

Antonetti seems to think he's has made the necessary changes to be successful in the future, but I'm just not seeing it.
 
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sportscoach

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It's hard to say with Zimmer, he is a solid OF defensively, and he has a ton of pop in his bat with very good speed, so him being a 4th OF makes a ton of sense...

Problem is, we have plenty of 4th OF options in the minors, that are younger with speed and are plus defensively that would have minor league options plus with Zimmer going into arbitration, be cheaper financially... In OOTP I would trade Zimmer, but OOTP doesn't take much in the clubhouse (does more than MLB the Show) that the real life would say...
 

CDAV45

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OK, so I've been advocating for Zimmer to be the 4th OFer going into the 22 season. How about they call Kwan up and give Zimmer a little competition. If they don't roster Kwan then he'll be subjected to the R5 and most likely selected by another team. I've pretty much ignored Kwan's performance until now because I didn't see it as sustainable/real, but that's beginning to change.

Zimmer's abilities will always be tantalizing. Waiting for them to surface could be/is frustrating. Sometimes it's ok to cut bait and move on. Take Urshela for instance. He had opportunities here and then in Toronto, but didn't perform until he was in pinstripes.
 

Wham with the Right Hand

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Zimmer has some significant weaknesses, like a .237 BA and a 41% strikeout rate. Also a .215 BA against lefties means his upside is a platoon player but he doesn't exactly hit well against righties, either. Another issue is his propensity to get hurt.

Another problem is his .370 BABIP is unsustainable meaning his .237 BA is also unsustainable. Despite the speed and defense there's not much to like. Six home runs in 241 AB's along with all the K's and the low BA which will probably continue to go down isn't going to cut it for a corner outfielder. And pitchers aren't hitting him as much while umpires are aware he tries to get hit, which will also decrease his OBP somewhat.
 

Kevalier

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Zimmer has some significant weaknesses, like a .237 BA and a 41% strikeout rate. Also a .215 BA against lefties means his upside is a platoon player but he doesn't exactly hit well against righties, either. Another issue is his propensity to get hurt.

Another problem is his .370 BABIP is unsustainable meaning his .237 BA is also unsustainable. Despite the speed and defense there's not much to like. Six home runs in 241 AB's along with all the K's and the low BA which will probably continue to go down isn't going to cut it for a corner outfielder. And pitchers aren't hitting him as much while umpires are aware he tries to get hit, which will also decrease his OBP somewhat.
Where are you getting a 41% K rate for Zimmer? His K rate on the season is 34.9% and at 33% for his career.
 

PPark

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Used AB rather than PA when calculating K-rate.
 

Mott the Hoople

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I'm glad Zimmer has been given an opportunity, and he has run with that. But as far as 22 goes, I see him as a 4th OF.
The Guards need 2 professional bats next season. At least 1 should be an outfielder. Maybe 2. We have some jigsaw pieces we don't know about yet that could affect Zimmer.
Does Amed stay at SS next year, or move to the OF, or trade bait?
Does NJones stay in AAA, move to the OF, or trade bait?
Can the Guards take a step forward next season with Zimmer as a regular?
 

KluberSociety

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Before Zimmer becomes a "4th OF", we need a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd OF. Right now we only have one. Even if we sign one everyday OF he probably ends up on the side of a platoon that plays more to start the season.
 
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Wham with the Right Hand

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Straw seems to be set in center. The best option would be another Eddie Rosario type free agent signing, only get a guy who isn't about to have an off year. If Rosario had had his normal season he would have been just fine.

Another option would be to trade a package of prospects for a starting corner outfielder. Apparently we have more prospects than we can roster that need protection from Rule 5 and this would be a way to create three more spots. So we could get our starting corner outfielder and hang onto a couple of prospects we like that would have gotten away. This might be the ideal play.

But if a trade is not forthcoming and if we need all available money to extend Bieber and Josie, which I wouldn't complain about, then we have to fill the corner OF spots from within. I see a couple of options.
One is a left field platoon of Harold Ramirez and Josh Naylor. They each have an OPS this year of .800 against opposite side pitching. Naylor is only 24 and should improve, assuming his ankle makes a full recovery. Ramirez is a .260 singles hitter, but at least he delivers with men on base. He's hitting .375 with two out and runners in scoring position, and .325 with runners on. He just turned 27 this week and research shows 27 is the most common age for players to have their best season.

The defense would not be great but left field is the easiest position to play and these guys make the routine plays. I could live with an .800 OPS, or possibly a little better, and below average defense at a position that doesn't require great defense.

As for right field, I'm hoping either Steven Kwan or Oscar Gonzalez can hit their way onto the team in spring training and run with it. Otherwise, I guess we're stuck with a Zimmer/Mercado platoon, so at least we'd have good defense. Mercado has an .805 OPS against lefties this year so I'd be happy with him playing right field against lefties. Zimmer has a .362 OBP against righties and with his speed on the bases I'd be happy with that since it comes with great defense.

So I don't think we're screwed in the outfield next year, even if we have to fill the corner positions internally and even if none of the guys in Columbus are ready next year. A Naylor/Harold platoon in left and a Mercado/Zimmer platoon in right wouldn't be the worst outfield in baseball. We'd have .800 OPS hitting in left and great defense and probably about .775 in right. We'd also have two guys who could play good defense in center if Straw needs a rest or gets hurt. Naylor could be the backup first baseman if Chang and Miller are not with the Guardians.

But ideally we deal a package of prospects for an outfielder like Bryan Reynolds of the Pirates, who I'm sure could use more prospects. But Reynolds is 26 and is a 5.1 WAR player who will probably be close to 6.0 by the end of the season. He's controllable for four years and will get a huge raise in arbitration next year and in the next three years. His OPS+ is 142. I doubt he's even gettable unless we're ready to trade McKenzie, Clase, and Valera, or something along those lines.
 

CDAV45

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Straw seems to be set in center. The best option would be another Eddie Rosario type free agent signing, only get a guy who isn't about to have an off year. If Rosario had had his normal season he would have been just fine.

Another option would be to trade a package of prospects for a starting corner outfielder. Apparently we have more prospects than we can roster that need protection from Rule 5 and this would be a way to create three more spots. So we could get our starting corner outfielder and hang onto a couple of prospects we like that would have gotten away. This might be the ideal play.

But if a trade is not forthcoming and if we need all available money to extend Bieber and Josie, which I wouldn't complain about, then we have to fill the corner OF spots from within. I see a couple of options.
One is a left field platoon of Harold Ramirez and Josh Naylor. They each have an OPS this year of .800 against opposite side pitching. Naylor is only 24 and should improve, assuming his ankle makes a full recovery. Ramirez is a .260 singles hitter, but at least he delivers with men on base. He's hitting .375 with two out and runners in scoring position, and .325 with runners on. He just turned 27 this week and research shows 27 is the most common age for players to have their best season.

The defense would not be great but left field is the easiest position to play and these guys make the routine plays. I could live with an .800 OPS, or possibly a little better, and below average defense at a position that doesn't require great defense.

As for right field, I'm hoping either Steven Kwan or Oscar Gonzalez can hit their way onto the team in spring training and run with it. Otherwise, I guess we're stuck with a Zimmer/Mercado platoon, so at least we'd have good defense. Mercado has an .805 OPS against lefties this year so I'd be happy with him playing right field against lefties. Zimmer has a .362 OBP against righties and with his speed on the bases I'd be happy with that since it comes with great defense.

So I don't think we're screwed in the outfield next year, even if we have to fill the corner positions internally and even if none of the guys in Columbus are ready next year. A Naylor/Harold platoon in left and a Mercado/Zimmer platoon in right wouldn't be the worst outfield in baseball. We'd have .800 OPS hitting in left and great defense and probably about .775 in right. We'd also have two guys who could play good defense in center if Straw needs a rest or gets hurt. Naylor could be the backup first baseman if Chang and Miller are not with the Guardians.

But ideally we deal a package of prospects for an outfielder like Bryan Reynolds of the Pirates, who I'm sure could use more prospects. But Reynolds is 26 and is a 5.1 WAR player who will probably be close to 6.0 by the end of the season. He's controllable for four years and will get a huge raise in arbitration next year and in the next three years. His OPS+ is 142. I doubt he's even gettable unless we're ready to trade McKenzie, Clase, and Valera, or something along those lines.
If they don't make a move or promote someone you think having a platoon in both corners will work or that it's a good idea? We'll have Straw for an entire season which is a good thing, and one of Zimmer/Mercado could be a good 4th OF type, but keeping all of HRam, Mercado, Zimmer, and Naylor in the corners looks like another/same shit show to me.

Internally they have Jones, Kwan, and Gonzalez that could/should see some time in Cleveland. Kwan hasn't had any split issues to this point so he probably wouldn't need a platoon partner. Jones on the other hand probably does. There's where one of HRam or Mercado comes into play and I'd prefer Mercado because of his superior defense.

I don't think Reynolds is a realistic get because I doubt they would give up what it would take to get him, and neither would I. Pittsburgh will certainly want any or all 3 of Espino, Arias, and Valera, and rightfully so. I'd rather "ride it out" than do that.

FA wise, there really isn't much to pine over. Conforto might be a good get if the price is right. Garcia if the Brewers don't resign him? Not much else coming available that isn't in their mid 30's. An outside addition will most likely come via a trade IMO.

While I think a JRam extension is likely, I do not feel the same about Bieber. I don't think the Guardians feel the same either due to the SP depth that's on the horizon and what the Biebs will likely demand. Purely speculation on my part.
 

KluberSociety

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If we're talking platoons with Zimmer, I'd rather have a bat first RH OF split with Zimmer mainly for extra late game flexibility. I'm not sure who the answer is but taking up 4 slots to platoon 2 OF slots is a step too far.

Especially if we have someone like Miller on the roster, hopefully he can play a good enough OF to step in sometimes against LHP. Then we wouldn't have to waste a slot on someone like Harold or Mercado, while he could also give infielders a rest when Zimmer is playing.

I lean more toward getting a stopgap veteran to play every day but only on a one-year deal, for the last OF slot. We have in-house options but rushing them up isn't exactly optimal. And if someone really emerges they can always knock Zimmer out.

Whatever we do though, no cramming up the roster with 4 mediocre outfielders when we could stick more pitchers there instead.
 

Kiddo

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We can't have more than 1 of Zimmer, Mercado & Harold on the 25 next year. They're all 3 platoon players at best and if we want to win anything we need to upgrade. Also not convinced that Naylor is the answer but i think he has more upside than these 3. I'm ready for the Nolan Jones experiment in LF and hopefully an Oscar Gonzales can hit his way into an opportunity.
 

CATS44

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We've gone thru multiple seasons of platooning outfielders. We are in a season of experimenting with rookies and other very young players.

Meanwhile, Jose, Beiber, and Franmil get closer to the day when they will be gone.

And we are gonna see valuable prospects lost if the FO doesn't make a move, plus it will happen again next off season.

This offense needs fixed...and the biggest and most obvious fix is in the outfield corners.

The answer to the problem isn't more mixing, matching, and rookies.
 

DCTribefan

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We've gone thru multiple seasons of platooning outfielders. We are in a season of experimenting with rookies and other very young players.

Meanwhile, Jose, Beiber, and Franmil get closer to the day when they will be gone.

And we are gonna see valuable prospects lost if the FO doesn't make a move, plus it will happen again next off season.

This offense needs fixed...and the biggest and most obvious fix is in the outfield corners.

The answer to the problem isn't more mixing, matching, and rookies.
By all means, let’s pin our collective hopes on wild, unsubstantiated trade speculation with little chance to come to fruition. Do I think trades should be pursued? Yes, but expectations need to be realistic (e.g., Reynold for five prospects isn’t happening).
 
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