Kyle Zimmer's numbers weren't exactly eye-popping in the Carolina League. But since his promotion to Northwest Arkansas, he hasn't allowed a run.
The Royals' No. 2 prospect continued his dominance by scattering three singles and striking out 12 over six innings to earn the win in the Double-A Naturals' 6-0 blanking of the Springfield Cardinals on Thursday night at Hammons Field.
"Fastball command was working well and my curveball, changeup and slider were pretty much there," said Zimmer (2-0). "The curveball especially had some extra bite on it."
The right-hander has fanned 42 batters in his last 23 innings and 132 in 101 1/3 innings this season.
"I'm just getting ahead of guys," he said. "I'm not going out there hoping to get a bunch of strikeouts. But when I'm getting ahead of guys and getting plus counts, I can use the curveball to put guys away or elevate the fastball."
Zimmer, who posted a 4-8 record with a 4.82 ERA with Class A Advanced Wilmington, gave up five runs in four out of five appearances between May 16 and June 7. Some of the 6-foot-3 University of San Francisco product's struggles before his callup were mechanical, but sometimes a bad inning caused an otherwise good performance to get away from him.
"It just seemed that, throughout that stretch, one inning I'd be rolling and then a I'd give up a three-spot on some infield hits and then a big hit," he said.
Familiarity with his new teammates has made the transition to Double-A smooth for the 21-year-old.
"It's been pretty easy just because it's such a great group of guys in the clubhouse here, and I knew a bunch from Spring Training," Zimmer said.
Although he has yet to allow a run at the new level, the fifth overall pick in the 2012 Draft has noticed the difference in hitters.
"It's just more consistency throughout a lineup," Zimmer said. "Everybody can hurt you if you leave the ball up or make a mistake. One pitch can change the game."
Brett Eibner led the way offensively with a homer, a triple and two RBIs and Royals' No. 6 prospect Orlando Calixte added two hits, an RBI and a run scored.