The Bowie Baysox (Baltimore Orioles AA affiliate) are off to a rough start in 2019. One member of the team’s rotation, however, is proving to be a solid addition to the pitching staff with his quality performances.
The Bowie Baysox (AA) currently have a record of 6-19, a record that represents the least number of wins among the minor league affiliates of the Baltimore Orioles. The team has yet to get their offense going, a fact that I chronicled in an article here a few days ago.
The scuffling Baysox offense currently sits in last place in the twelve-team Eastern League. The pitching staff is not faring much better as they are last in team ERA (4.38).
Despite the Baysox struggles, there are a few bright spots among the roster. LHP Bruce Zimmermann is one such bright spot.
Zimmermann, a 24-year-old native of Baltimore, MD, currently leads the team in innings pitched. He is the team leader in quality starts (six or more innings pitched, three earned runs or less), as well.
So far this season, the 6’2″ southpaw has made four starts. Unfortunately, he has no record to show for it, pitching to a no-decision every time. His last three starts have all been quality starts. Zimmermann has done what is asked of a starter: give your team a chance to win.
Three times, Zimmermann has left with the game tied at one apiece, and in the other, he left with a 4-2 lead. Sadly, the Baysox won only one of those games; they beat the Erie SeaWolves (Detroit Tigers affiliate) 2-1 on April 23rd. The bullpen simply failed him in the other three starts. Ironically enough, RHP Tanner Chleborad lost two of the three (Pedro Araujo lost the other).
Over a span of 23.0 innings, Zimmermann has pitched to a 1.57 ERA and 0.91 WHIP with 17 strikeouts and four walks. He is holding Eastern League hitters to a .202 batting average and has given up just two home runs among his 17 hits allowed. He is striking out batters at a 19.1% rate while walking just 4.5% of the batters he has faced.
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Considered a back of the rotation pitcher by some, Zimmermann uses a two and four-seam fastball, a slider, and a change-up to generate groundballs. He currently possesses a groundball rate of 47.8%.
Groundballs and length from a starter are certainly characteristics that could help the Baltimore Orioles. Zimmermann appears to be on a path that could lead him to Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
If you recall, Zimmermann came to Baltimore in the Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day (as well as $2.5 M in International Bonus money) trade to Atlanta that netted the Orioles C Brett Cumberland, 3B JC Encarnacion, and RHP Evan Phillips.
At the time, the trade was panned by quite a few in the fanbase who felt the return was underwhelming for what was seen as a salary dump.
It is good to see Zimmermann performing as well as he is; his future progress could change the perception of that trade and could be a huge positive for the organization.
It could simply be a case of returning home being a good thing for Zimmermann.