Sunday, January 01, 2006

Ryan Zimmerman

Right-handed Third Baseman

Ryan has just over one year of service time. Assuming he stays in the majors, he'll be arbitration-eligible after the 2008 season, and a free agent after 2011. He was the National's first-round draft pick, the 4th overall, in 2005.

Zimmerman's first full season in the majors earned him a second-place finish in Rookie of the Year voting, surpassing already lofty expectations.

He has excellent line-drive power, leading to lots of extra-base hits. His 47 doubles in 2005 was good for sixth in the league. He's not an overly patient hitter, but he's not exceptionally aggressive either, despite the 120 strikeouts. For a 20-year old with just half a season of pro ball behind him, he did amazingly well. Although he sprays his doubles around, most of his homers are on pitches he turns and lofts.

He showed two impressive traits in 2006. He had an amazing ability for clutch base hits, and his 110 RBI on a lousy team is impressive. It's as much indicative of his league-leading times at bat with runners in scoring position as it is with his ability to come through when they were on: .323 Ave, .912 OPS. Along those same lines, he was also impressive with the number of clutch and game-winning hits he had. From his impressive game-tying homer (his first career shot) off Billy Wagner in the first series, to his destruction of the Yankees, capped by a walk-off, when the game was on the line and he was up, good things happened.

He was also quite adept at picking spots to bunt for hits. He would casually look over his shoulder to see where the 3B was playing, and if he was deep, he'd drop a bunt right down the line. I'm not sure that he was thrown out once on this play.

He showed himself to be a decent baserunner when going from first to third, but was a terrible base stealer, getting thrown out 8 times in just 19 tries.

Defensively, Zimmerman was terrific, making a number of flashy plays. He was especially good at ranging far out to either side. He did show, though, a difficulty with liners hit towards him, something he's sure to improve as he gains experience.

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