St. Paul, MN – The St. Paul Saints were staring elimination in the face in Game 4 of the North Division Series. Just six days later they were sweeping the Sioux City Explorers in Game 3 of the American Association Finals to claim their first title in 15 years. In both of those games right-hander Ryan Zimmerman got the start. The rookie shined under the brightest of lights in 2019 and will take the hill once again for the Saints in 2020.
The 24-year-old Zimmerman went 7-3 with a 4.16 ERA in 23 games (17 starts). In 110.1 innings pitched he walked 65, struck out 110 while opponents hit just .234 against him. He was one of only 13 pitchers in the American Association with more than 100 strikeouts and finished ninth in that category. Zimmerman began the season pitching out of the bullpen over his first four appearances and then started on June 5 at Texas. The month of July was special for Zimmerman as he was named the American Association Pitcher of the Month going 3-1 with a 2.43 ERA in six games (five starts). In 37.0 innings he walked 10 and struck out 41 while opponents hit .220 against him. He didn’t allow more than two runs in any of his five starts and went 6.0 innings three times and 7.0 innings twice. His most dominant performance came on July 24 at home against Cleburne going 7.0 innings allowing one run on one hit while striking out a career tying high nine.
He came up big towards the end of the season when Zimmerman went 7.0 shutout innings allowing just four hits on August 24 against Chicago as the Saints were fighting for their playoff lives. Despite not earning a victory in either playoff appearance, Zimmerman was sensational. With the Saints down two games to one, Zimmerman hurled 7.1 shutout innings allowing just three hits and striking out a career high 10 in Game 4 of the North Division Series against the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks. The Saints would win that game in the bottom of the ninth on an RBI infield single by Blake Schmit. Then, in Game 3 of the American Association Finals, despite giving up a three-run home run in the first inning, Zimmerman settled down and didn’t allow a run in the next 4.0 innings of work. The Saints would come from behind and win the Championship 6-3. Zimmerman was 0-0 with a 1.46 ERA in his two starts. He struck out 13 in 12.1 innings pitched.
Zimmerman originally signed with the Saints on June 2, 2018 out of the University of St. Thomas. With the Saints he went 2-2 with a 7.06 ERA in 13 games (11 starts). In 51.0 innings he walked 28 and struck out 47 while opponents hit .295 against him.
Zimmerman finished his senior season with the Tommies in 2018, going 6-3 with a 3.36 ERA and two complete games in 10 games (nine starts). In 56.1 innings he walked 28 and struck out 75 while opponents hit a miniscule .182 against him. Zimmerman finished first in the MIAC in strikeouts and strikeouts per nine innings (11.98), tied for third in wins and sixth in innings pitched. He went at least 6.0 innings in six of nine starts and tossed a 9.0 inning complete game in his final start of the season against Gustavus Adolphus. He allowed five runs on five hits. His two best outings were both 7.0 inning stints. The first on March 26 vs. Grinell where he allowed one run on three hits while striking out 12. On April 20 vs. Concordia-Moorhead he didn’t allow a run on one hit while walking one and striking out seven. He struck out at least six in eight of nine starts, including double-digits three times. He fanned a career high 13 on April 25 vs. Hamline.
In high school Zimmerman partially tore his labrum during his junior year. After pitching out of relief his first two years with the Tommies he jumped into the starting role as a junior. The waiting paid off as he was a third-team D3Baseball All-Region honoree and All-MIAC during his junior season going 5-4 with a 2.77 ERA with six complete games and one save in 13 games (11 starts). In 78.0 innings pitched he walked 23, struck out 87 and opponents hit .226 against him. He went at least 6.0 innings in eight of 11 starts and struck out at least six, nine times, including double-digits twice. Zimmerman stepped up in the post-season as well tossing two complete games, including a 7-2 win over No. 2-ranked UW-Whitewater.
In 43 career pitching appearances, Zimmerman had a 3.04 ERA and a 16-8 record, with one save, eight complete games, 203 strikeouts, 74 walks in 181 innings.
Zimmerman pitched two seasons in the summer wood-bat Northwoods League. In 2017 he won five games and made 11 starts for Eau Claire, with 59 strikeouts in 57 innings. In 2016, he went 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA in eight appearances with the Express, with 33 strikeouts and 18 walks in 38 innings.
This is the ninth off-season signing for the Saints.
RHP Tanner Kiest
RHP Daniel Minor
RHP Matt Quintana
RHP Ryan Zimmerman
INF Josh Allen
INF Telvin Nash
INF John Silviano
OF Michael Lang
OF Dan Motl
The reigning American Association Champion Saints begin the 2020 season with the banner raising ceremony on Tuesday, May 19 at CHS Field against the Lincoln Saltdogs at 7:05 p.m.