Halo Hangout stopped by and spoke with young LA Angels third base prospect Jordan Zimmerman. Jordan Zimmerman was drafted in 2016 in the 7th round and is currently hitting .311/.324/.566 in the second half of the 2018 season with the Inland Empire 66ers.
The LA Angels have a special talent in Jordan Zimmerman. Zimmerman has had to work hard this season to find success. One of the beauties of a long baseball season is the opportunity it allows you time and time again to better yourself, to learn from your mistakes and build upon your successes in the ever-fluctuous process of evolving towards a more complete version of “you”.
“You”, in this instance, refers to the baseball players graced with both the ability and fortune that allows them to not only play the game, but excel. One player who has taken to this mantra deeply is Inland Empire 66ers infielder Jordan Zimmerman.
Zimmerman as spent the better half of three seasons witin the Angels organization, and his second half of the 2018 season with the Inland Empire 66ers is nothing to scoff at. Not only has he been slamming opposing pitchers to the tune of a .561 slugging over the last month, he’s received a Cal League Hitter of the Week Award to boot. His award came after his final week of June, in which he hit .423 with 3 doubles, a triple and 2 HR’s with 8 total RBI’s to match his 8 runs scored. That special week wasn’t just an exclamation point on the first half of his season, it was the start of what’s more to come.
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Since earning that award, Zimmerman has seen his power production quantified; in fact it isn’t just his power that’s spiked, but his overall production. His batting average has jumped about 40 points from where it stood after the first half while his OBP spiked nearly 100 points. This is more than just a hot streak, or a strong run, this so happens to be the virtue of putting together all the pieces of what’s been worked on throughout the season to bring ultimate elevation to your game.
Something tells me Jordan Zimmerman won’t stop rocking the boat anytime soon.
Jordan Zimmerman #5
H.H: You recently received a Cal League Hitter of the Week award. What have you been working on this season to get yourself to that point?
Zimmerman: A lot of stuff mechanically and mentally at the plate. The first half I tried as much stuff as I could to see what would work, second half I took what was working and worked to apply it. So far it’s been working out pretty well and I keep hitting the ball decent. Hopefully I can keep improving off of that and have a good rest of the season.
H.H: You slugged at a .505 clip in the month of June. What do you attribute to your 2nd half power surge?
Zimmerman: Swinging more at my pitch I’d say. Not swinging at the pitchers pitch, just trying to get my pitch in my count and hit it hard. When you get your pitch in a count that you’re looking for it’s a lot easier to play.
H.H: You hit over .300 and slug .500 against LHP. How does your approach change when facing lefties vs righties?
Zimmerman: I’m not sure it changes at all. I still look for the same pitch, I just see it a little bit better off a lefty because of the angle. I just happen to see it better.
H.H: What are the biggest improvements you’re looking to make in this 2nd half?
Zimmerman: Just to have more competitive at-bats every single day and not give up any at-bats. Hit more strikes and stop swinging at balls. I know it sounds cliché, but just play the game pitch to pitch and play to play. I’m not trying to look at the big picture, just every at-bat.
Career Extra Base: 95 (60 doubles, 14 triples, 21 HR’s)
Jordan Zimmerman has spent the last three years developing his craft with the Los Angeles Angels organization, also spending time with the 66ers in 2017 for a 42 game stretch to end the season. His 2018 season has been spent with the 66ers as well, Zimmerman finding a consistent spot to grind out 350+ at-bats en route to the next stop of his journey. In that previous 2017 season with the 66ers Zimmerman bashed a .293/.335/.457 slash line with 4 HR’s and 28 RBI’s.
A key for Jordan Zimmermans current developmental progress is his ability to take all the pieces of what he’s worked on throughout his young career and mentally bring it all together. I know this may sound simple, taking tiny pieces of a bigger puzzle and putting it all together, yet the difficulty and pace at which the ballplayer is required to piece it together is what makes the mental aspect of baseball so grand compared to other sports. Imagine having to put together a puzzle of nothing but blue sky and white clouds, all while your career hinges on your quickness and ability to piece it all together. That’s the kind of mental superiority is required of the baseball player.
After surveying the landscape about him, Zimmerman is beginning to piece together the infinitely expanding puzzle that is Baseball.
Over Last 28 Days: .311/.324/.566
H.H: Recently, you’ve tallied an 11 game hit streak. How are you looking to maintain that offensive output for the rest of the season?
Zimmerman: Honestly, trying not to get caught up in how many hits I get and if I’m hitting every game just trying to have good at-bats every day. If I have quality at-bats I might come away with no hits, but I could have four bad at-bats and come away with four hits. That’s just how the game works, I’m more worried about having good at-bats.
H.H: Defensively you’ve spent the majority of your time at 3rd and 1st. How do you prepare yourself to play opposite sides of the diamond?
Zimmerman: They’re both played pretty similarly, the angles are pretty much the same. There’s not much preparation between the differences. I just come out here and take ground balls everyday, make some throws and try to get better everyday before the game. Hopefully it works day in and day out.
H.H: What aspects of your defensive game are you looking to build upon in the 2nd half?
Zimmerman: Probably my throwing accuracy. It was a little shaky first half; playing a new position, trying to figure out angles and stuff like that, like where my feet should go. If I can improve off that hopefully the glove takes care of itself and I can put myself in the right spot.
H.H: When you envision yourself as a “complete player”, what tools do you see developed the most?
Zimmerman: Probably hitting. I feel like my whole life I’ve been a pretty good hitter, but I think I still have a lot of room for improvement. If I can build off the tools that I have in my swing I should become a much better player than I am today.
Jordan Zimmerman #5
The biggest tool in baseball isn’t power, speed or defense. No, the biggest tool in baseball is one’s ability to adapt to the ever changing environments. Within this greater tool are many smaller talents; ones ability to maintain self-awareness, the quickness to recognize and satisfy developmental needs, but most importantly the open state of mind required to absorb and process the never-ending flow of information.
Like always, the greatest tool is the sixth tool, the individuals’ mental capacity; the truest dictator of ones success both inside and outside the sport of baseball. Jordan Zimmerman has elevate his game exponentially from where it stood just earlier this season. Not enough can be said about what Jordan Zimmerman has done in 2018; how he’s taken his experimental approaches from early in the season and derived a stronger formula than what he once earlier played from.
This isn’t to say that Jordan Zimmerman slouched in his seasons prior to 2018 either His rookie campaign of 2016 saw him collect a .258/.329/.376 slash line with 15 extra base hits and 35 RBI’s. You really can’t ask for more from a rookie, in that season, where he showed the necessity of his development, he also showed the strengths and talents natural to him. When you open up you MiLB career the most you can do is put wood on the ball, if you can do that then you’re already starting your career off at a better clip than many others. Though Zimmerman hit a learning curve in his time with Class A Burlington that season, his time with the rookie league Orem Owlz saw him pull together a total .422/.478/.639 slash line with 4 HR’s and 22 RBI’s in only 19 games.
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The biggest mark of his improvement was his return to Burlington in 2017, Zimmerman owning that learning curve with a .270/.325/.393 slash line paired with a spike in his ability to drive the ball which brought home 24 extra base hits compared to the 6 in his time with Burlington in 2016. Every year we’re seeing more and more from the development of Jordan Zimmerman; each time he’s entered a new field of competition he’s shown time and time again that he will adjust and he will grow to rise above the responsibilities asked of him.
If there’s one quality the Angels could use more of in the big league clubhouse, it’s players who never stop growing. Each field of competition enters new difficulties into ones approach, new challenges and more effort. Jordan Zimmerman consistently shows he can, and will, grind out the challenges presented to him until its ground into dust. And after that? It’s time to grind out the next challenge.
All part of the job for the young, ultra-talented Angels prospect Jordan Zimmerman.