The Cleveland Indians are dealing with injuries and plenty of questions in the outfield.
Center field is the position in focus and recently, Bradley Zimmer has been getting his fair share of time at the position.
That puts him in an ongoing battle with Harold Ramirez for playing time.
Indians fans are plenty familiar with Zimmer and 2021 may be his last shot at proving he has any future in Cleveland.
He is now 28 years old and has not played in 100 games since his debut season of 2017.
Both injuries and poor play have been to blame for that.
Zimmer got the start Tuesday night in St. Louis and once again, Indians fans got to see the good and bad from the tall outfielder.
The Fun Side Of Zimmer
There is no denying Zimmer’s abilities in center field.
He can cover an insane amount of ground and proved it with a web gem Tuesday night.
Have you ever heard Hammy describe a gazelle running in the wild?
This was a 5% catch probability…#OurCLE pic.twitter.com/cGgB6hYND2
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) June 9, 2021
Few players in MLB are going to make that play, and Zimmer made it look easy.
Zimmer has never had a huge defensive WAR total, but that is because he has not played all that much at the MLB level.
While his defense is exciting, it has also led to several brutal injuries.
Zimmer can cover so much ground it means he may run full-speed into the wall, tracking a ball most others would not even get near.
A shoulder injury ultimately cost Zimmer much of 2018 and nearly all of 2019.
Then came the shortened 2020 season and we are talking about nearly three seasons missed or altered because of that initial injury.
Perhaps Tuesday’s diving play proves Zimmer is indeed back.
The Bad Side Of Zimmer
The fact is Zimmer strikes out way too much.
He had three strikeouts Tuesday night after having four on Saturday.
Bradley Zimmer has 7 strikeouts in his last 8 plate appearances…
Last 2 starts
Saturday: 4 PA, 4 K
Today: 3 PA, 3 K
The defense is nice but yikes…#Indians #OurCLE
— Matt Bretz (@MattB_WOF) June 9, 2021
Zimmer also had 26 strikeouts in only 18 Triple-A games before his promotion in May.
A slugger like Bobby Bradley posting three strikeouts in a game is to be expected sometimes.
But Zimmer lacks such power and cannot be striking out that much at the bottom of the order.
He did get a late two-RBI single in Tuesday’s game, but the game was won at that point.
The Indians have too many options in center field to end up going with a player who struggles to put the ball in play.
However, Zimmer has only appeared in 10 games so far and needs a larger sample size before any major decisions are made.
Unfortunately for him, his future in Cleveland may come to an end soon if he can’t really get going on offense.
The front office dangling him in trade talks would not be a surprise given his age and the younger players behind him waiting for an opportunity of their own.
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