Royals draft pitcher Kyle Zimmer with their first-round pick - KCTV5 News

Royals draft pitcher Kyle Zimmer with their first-round pick

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The Royals selected pitcher Kyle Zimmer with the fifth selection in the Major League Baseball draft.

Zimmer, 20, is a right-handed pitcher.

The California native played college at the University of San Francisco. He just completed his junior year and is a converted third baseman.

The Dons' ace went just 5-3, but had a 2.85 ERA with 104 Ks and only 17 BBs in 88 1-3 innings, and threw consecutive shutouts during one stretch. He has battled an injury, but is expected to bounce back.

Royals General Manager Dayton Moore said this is "a great day" for the franchise.

Royals officials hailed Zimmer's four pitches and said the team wanted to add a front of the rotation starter. Zimmer is said to be a polished player who is big and physical. Royals officials lauded his competitive spirit and work ethic.

Zimmer is known for his fast ball, which touches 99 mph, and his curve ball. He is working to strengthen his change-up.

He will have seasoning to learn in the minor leagues, but the Royals hope he joins the big leagues within two years.

They compared him to veteran pitcher Roy Oswalt.

The second round will be held Tuesday.

Like most small-market clubs, Kansas City is forced to build largely through the draft, and is just now enjoying a wave of position players from their farm system. But the Royals have been largely unable to land a front-line starting pitcher for several years.

They chose Aaron Crow in the first round in 2009. He's now a reliever.

Watch KCTV5 News for more on the Royals draft.

Read additional coverage from KCTV5's reporting partner, the Kansas City Star.

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