Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 6/5/12

Kyle Zimmer acknowledged he did not know as much as he should about the Kansas City Royals, who drafted him in the first round Monday.

"But I'll start doing a lot more research now," said Zimmer, a University of San Francisco right-hander with a fastball clocked as high as 98 mph.

This information should help Zimmer's research: Kansas City starters have a 17-22 record and an ERA above 5.00. They are averaging just more than five innings a start. Exhibit A was Monday night's 10-7 loss to the Minnesota Twins, when left-hander Will Smith was yanked after 4 2/3 innings, having given up seven runs.

Royals scouting director Lonnie Goldberg views Zimmer as a front-of-the-rotation" starter.

"It's something we wanted to make sure we attacked in the draft," Goldberg said.

The Royals have not drafted and developed an ace since Zack Greinke, who was their first pick in the 2002 draft, won the 2009 American League Cy Young Award and traded to the Brewers after the 2010 season.

Zimmer, 20, went 5-3 with a 2.85 ERA in 13 starts as a Dons junior. He struck out 104 and walked only 17 in 88 1/3 innings. He came on the scouting radar screen June 3, 2011, when he threw a four-hit, 3-0 shutout of UCLA in an NCAA regional game, striking out 11. The losing pitcher was Gerrit Cole, the first overall pick in the 2011 draft. Zimmer also pitched well in the summer Cape Cod League.

"The good thing with him is he's got so much ceiling," Goldberg said. "There's some minor things he can work on. He may even take off and be better than what we think he is.

"He was the No. 1 pitcher on our board. He was the guy we wanted, the guy we targeted. To be honest, we were fortunate, real happy and real lucky he was still there."

Goldberg believes it won't be long before Zimmer will be in the Kansas City rotation.

"I think he's got the talent to pitch up here right now, but I think there's a lot of seasoning he's got to get through," Goldberg said. "My guess is his talent and his makeup will allow him to get here when he needs to, but I'd say within two years."

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