The MLB world is alive and well again as all Cleveland Indians players have reported to Spring Training.
The club will play their first exhibition game against the Cincinnati Reds on February 28.
All Tribe fans know that Eddie Rosario will be penciled in at either the left field or right field position.
That leaves two outfield spots up for grabs and nine outfielders competing for those spots.
That leaves us with two questions.
Can Zimmer win the starting job in center and could he be a long-term Indians outfielder?
Can He Win the Starting Center Field Job?
There is no denying that Zimmer is supremely talented with loads of Major League potential.
— Stadium (@Stadium) August 27, 2017
The 6-foot-,5 220-pounder was selected by Cleveland in the first round of the 2014 MLB Draft.
The California native has shown blazing speed and above average power at times.
Zimmer put up some incredible numbers while in the Minor Leagues as he hit 16 homers and swiped 44 bases in 2015.
The 28-year old had his best big league season with the Tribe in 2017 as he hit eight home runs and stole 18 bags while appearing in only 101 games.
Zimmer has more power than Hamilton and Mercado had a sophomore slump of massive proportions.
So, yes the starting center field job can definitely be Zimmer’s if he has a good spring.
Could He be a Long-Term Option?
— Dugout Nation (@DugoutNation) July 26, 2017
Zimmer definitely has the talent to be an everyday center fielder on almost any Major League roster.
However, the injury bug has bit Zimmer in a bad way since his respectable 2017 season.
After winning the starting center field job to begin the 2018 season, Zimmer was sent down to Triple-A Columbus after scuffling a bit at the plate.
Things went from bad to worse in Columbus as Zimmer suffered a badly torn labrum in his throwing shoulder.
Zimmer had surgery on that bad shoulder but honestly has not looked the same since.
In 2019, Zimmer was limited to only 24 games.
In the pandemic shortened 2020 campaign, Zimmer only appeared in 20 games for the Tribe.
Hopefully, Zimmer’s throwing shoulder is completely healed by now and he can get the opportunity to see more live pitching during Spring Training.
Until Zimmer is able to play a full Major League season, we simply cannot say for sure whether or not he can be a long-term Indians outfielder.
A Final Word
What will happen in the Indians outfield this spring?
Who will win the starting center field job?
Although Hamilton was signed to a Minor League deal, the competition in center will primarily be between Zimmer and Mercado.
If Zimmer can stay healthy and Mercado still struggles to find his groove, Zimmer could very well be named the starter in center.
It is too early to tell if Zimmer can be a long-term outfielder for the Tribe, but he has the perfect opportunity in Spring Training to prove his case to the Indians coaching staff.