Roman Kimball sought a way to share his baseball journey and promote himself as a baseball player.
Kimball is a high school right-handed pitcher who enjoys and admires Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Trevor Bauer, the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner. In 2020, Bauer started creating vlogs to take fans behind the scenes of his life and career as one of baseball’s top pitchers.
Kimball regularly watched Bauer’s vlogs throughout the 2020 MLB season. It sparked an idea for Kimball, who relocated from New York to South Carolina to attend P27 Academy for his senior year of high school in August. Kimball believed young baseball players would be interested in seeing his day-to-day life at a baseball-only academy.
On Aug. 21, 2020, Kimball released his first vlog, titled “Vlog 1 – P27 Academy,” on YouTube. It was the first of a weekly vlog series for the highly-touted high school pitcher. Kimball films and edits all his vlogs.
“I enjoy doing it and think it’s a great idea for marketing for when the draft comes around for if I get selected in July,” Kimball said. “I feel I can make a name for myself in the social media industry and market the game to people. It also will show kids that baseball players have separate lives and are just normal people.”
Viewers receive an inside look at what it takes to be one of the country’s top prep pitchers though Kimball’s vlogs.
He plans on regularly posting vlogs throughout his senior season. This spring will consist of Kimball pitching against high-quality academy and college teams in preparation for July’s MLB draft. Professional scouts project Kimball as an early-round draft prospect.
Besides his status as a draft prospect, Kimball also is a Notre Dame commit. He committed to Notre Dame over offers from Virginia Tech and Boston College, citing the program’s coaching staff and campus atmosphere for his decision.
Kimball has two viable options for the next step in his baseball career. This spring season will play a vital role in determining the path he takes after his prep career concludes.
“It is exciting, but it also is surreal,” said Kimball on the draft attention. “I have always had dreams since I was young to play professional baseball. When I committed to Notre Dame, I thought I was going to school and all excited. Now I have gotten to the point where I realize this is real and that the draft is right around the corner. To know you have a shot at being selected in the MLB draft is so surreal and amazing.”
Kimball is a 5-foot-11, 175-pound righty who throws a four-seam fastball, changeup, slider and curveball from a low-release point. He gets notable extension in his delivery, which is unique but extremely effective.
His fastball reaches 95 mph and features arm-side life with an average of about 15 inches of horizontal movement. It is his top pitch and generates swings and misses. He also locates the pitch well.
Kimball’s curveball is his best off-speed pitch that sits in the mid-to-high-70s. It features an average of at least 2,700 revolutions per minute and is hard for hitters to pick up due to his release point. He has confidence in throwing his curveball in any count.
Over the last year, Kimball has incorporated a slider into his pitching repertoire. It is a hard, breaking pitch that sits in the mid-80s and features an average spin rate of about 2,600 rpm. He also has refined his changeup over the last year. His changeup features fading action to left-handed hitters.
Kimball has an intriguing repertoire of pitches, embraces analytics and possesses a strong mentality that will benefit him at the next level.
“I feel like my mental game has come a long way,” Kimball said. “Over quarantine, my mental game is something I really focused on. I feel like I have worked on getting hitters out without doing anything physically with just thinking ahead and thinking a few pitches ahead and reading the batters.”
When Kimball started at P27 Academy in the fall, his goal was to add strength to his frame. Since November, he has gained about 20 pounds, which he believes will be a positive as he continues to mature as a pitcher.
This spring, Kimball is eager to pitch against quality academy teams and collegiate programs. He hopes to show growth on the mound while refining his pitches in preparation for the next step of his baseball career.
“I feel like I have done a great job of becoming more physical,” Kimball said. “I have become more explosive. Once you get stronger, you have to keep up with your flexibility. I think I have been doing that as well.
“I want to get a jump in velo. I’m hoping to be 95,96 and touching 97s going into the draft. Most scouts now are just pretty much looking for me to pop a number because I have the command and off-speed pitches.”
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for six years. He has interviewed 253 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.