Zimmer, Bird earn weekly Fall League honors

Royals No. 2 prospect fanned 12 last week before being shut down

After big weeks, Kyle Zimmer and Greg Bird lead the AFL in strikeouts (15) and home runs (four), respectively.

By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | October 21, 2014 1:14 PM

Call it a consolation prize of some sort.

One day after the Royals said Kyle Zimmer's baseball-playing fall had come to a close due to a right shoulder injury, the No. 2 Kansas City prospect was named the Arizona Fall League's Pitcher of the Week. Yankees No. 11 prospect Greg Bird earned Player of the Week honors.

Zimmer missed most of the regular season due to biceps tendinitis in the spring and a strained right lat muscle in May that kept him from making his 2014 debut until mid-August, when he made six rehab appearances with Rookie-level Idaho Falls. He also made four appearances out of the bullpen for Omaha en route to their second straight Triple-A National Championship before moving to the Arizona Fall League, where he was expected to ramp up his innings with a move back to the starter's role with Peoria.

The 23-year-old right-hander, who is ranked No. 47 overall among prospects by MLB.com, looked like he found his healthy form last Monday, striking out 11 and allowing only two hits and a walk over five scoreless innings against Glendale. He pitched a scoreless frame Saturday but was removed early after experiencing shoulder soreness. Zimmer was officially removed from the Peoria roster Monday.

Zimmer finishes his Fall League campaign with a league-best 15 strikeouts to go with three runs allowed on five hits and four walks in his three starts (9 2/3 innings). Given that the extent of the shoulder injury isn't yet known, it's also not clear if he'll back for Spring Training in 2015, a season in which he was expected to make his Major League debut if healthy.

At the other end, Bird, who was limited to 102 games this season due to a back injury, is looking to build off a big week as he continues to make up for lost time with Scottsdale. The left-handed slugger owned a .353/.421/.706 line over four games last week and led the Fall League with two homers (both of which came Thursday against Surprise) and five RBIs in that span. His four homers and 11 RBIs across 10 games this fall are both tops in the circuit while his .698 slugging percentage ranks second.

The 21-year-old first baseman owned a .271/.376/.472 line with 14 homers, a triple, 30 doubles and 43 RBIs in his 102 regular-season games between Double-A Trenton and Class A Advanced Tampa.

Sam Dykstra is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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