LA Angels prospect Jordan Zimmerman a lesson in versatility

Los Angeles Angels, (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Angels, (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images) /

LA Angels infielder Jordan Zimmerman is like every other player in the minor leagues he is trying to get promoted and eventually make it to the majors.  One thing Zimmerman is doing to enhance his chances is his versatility.

Jordan Zimmerman was a middle infielder growing up in Mesa, Arizona.  However, the LA Angels prospect changed his position to first base while at Michigan State University.  Since he has been in the minor leagues he has played first, second, and third base as well as shortstop.  On Saturday night Zimmerman added pitcher to his repertoire throwing an inning in a blowout loss to Rancho Cucamonga.

“I really like my time at Michigan State. I really learned a lot there and played pretty well there. I actually liked playing in the cold,” Zimmerman said. “I learned to play first in college, but didn’t play third until I got to the minors. At first I liked playing second the most, but now I’m getting more comfortable at third and I like that the best.”

Zimmerman was drafted in the seventh round out of Michigan State by the Angels in 2016.  Zimmerman split time in 2017 between Burlington and Inland Empire hitting .278 with nine homers and 71 RBIs. In 2018 he continued at Inland Empire with a .231 batting average with 11 homers 60 RBIs.  In 2019 he is hitting .257 with six homers and 23 RBIs.

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Zimmerman started the 2019 season in a major slump hitting below .170 but has come up over the last six weeks to raise his average to .257.  His versatility is one of his greatest attributes.  When he pitched on Saturday it was fun to watch Zimmerman tried to fool hitters with his 57 to 65 MPH pitches.  His first pitch was hit close to 400 feet to left field by Rancho Cucamonga’s Steve Berman.

However, from that point forward Zimmerman got three straight outs including a strike out of Marcus Chiu on his hardest pitch of the night an 82 mile per hour fastball.  He finished the inning with a Jeren Kendall pop out.

Zimmerman enjoyed pitching albeit in a mop-up situation with the 66ers trailing 13-1 in the ninth.

“I wish it was a different scenario, that we were up by lot, but it is fun to get out there on the mound again and pretend I’m 12 years old again,” Zimmerman said of the outing.  “I just tried to sneak it by him (82 MPH fastball that struck out Chiu). I wish it was a little faster than 82 miles per hour. Was hoping it would be at least 85 on the gun. I just wanted to change some speeds.”

Although Zimmerman had some success on the mound he knows that his best way to the majors is with his bat and being able to play multiple positions well.

“The last month and a half I’ve changed my approach at the late and started picking things up. I still got a lot of things to clean up with my swing,” Zimmerman said. “I’m trying to simplify some things and get my average up to at least .280 by the end of the season. The getting moved up part I can’t control that, but I can control how hard I’m hitting the ball and controlling where it goes.”

Zimmerman is one of the few hitters at Inland Empire who is hitting over .250 in at least 150 at-bats for the 66ers.  The other two are Orlando Martinez and Franklin Torres who are hitting .291 and .270 respectively.  Zimmerman deserves the opportunity to make the jump to Double-A, but who knows if that call will come for him.

Next. LA Angels are playing well in honor of Tyler Skaggs.

When asked about the late Tyler Skaggs, who played in Inland Empire in 2013 and 2014, and how his death has affected him and the other players at Inland Empire.

“It was shocking for everyone. We were on the bus to play in Lancaster when we got the news. We didn’t know how to react to it,” Zimmerman said. “It just so sad. My heart goes out to his wife and his family. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers. Hopefully everyone gets through it. It is a really sad time. He will be missed.”