Mark Zimmerman

Mark Zimmerman '16 begins his second season as a player in the San Diego Padres organization.

Mark Zimmerman '16 Following His Dream of Playing Professional Baseball

April 11, 2017

Mark ZimmermanWhile the opportunity for an NCAA Division III student-athlete to reach the highest level of professional sports is a long shot, Mark Zimmerman ‘16 is following his dream of playing professional baseball with zest. This spring, he begins his second season as a player in the San Diego Padres organization with the Class A Fort Wayne (Indiana) TinCups of the Midwest League.

Zimmerman, who graduated with a pre-physical therapy degree last spring, was all set to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a physical therapist. But he also knew there was a chance that his dream of being drafted in the 2016 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft was within reach.

Beating Major League Odds

"We talked about the possibility of Mark having the talent and ability to play at the next level when he first visited campus in 2012," said seventh-year BW head baseball coach Brian Harrison. "I rarely talk about that aspect with recruits, but Mark was one of those young men who we really felt could project to the next level and draw some interest from major league scouts."

It also is pretty rare for a Division III baseball student-athlete to be drafted, but Zimmerman was taken in the 33rd round by the Padres. Once he signed his contract, he attacked his first season of professional baseball with the same enthusiasm he displayed on Fisher Field the previous four years.

Early Career Yields "Futures" Invitation

His professional career began in May of 2016 playing for the Tri-City Dust Devils in low Class A and then advanced to High A for the Lake Elsinore Storm. Overall, Mark had a 1-2 record with an outstanding 1.45 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 37 and one-third innings pitched. Because of that success, he was invited to play in the Padres' Futures Game at Petco Park in San Diego.

"Mark is a talent, an outstanding all-around athlete who can hit, pitch and play the game," said Brent Miles, the president of the Tri-City Dust Devils and a 1997 graduate of BW who has spent the past 20 years in professional baseball on the West Coast. "It was great to have a BW guy with the Dust Devils, and I was very impressed with his talent and ability as a pitcher."

"I'm definitely excited," said Zimmerman, who helped BW win the 2014 NCAA Division III Mid-Atlantic Regional title and advance to BW's first-ever berth in the Division III College World Series. "This is a dream come true and I'm going to make the most of it, work hard and see what happens. I am very thankful for the opportunities I've had at BW and now in pro ball."