July 6, 2006


Rookie Is a Quick Study (Thomas Boswell, July 6, 2006, Washington Post)

On Father's Day, Ryan Zimmerman hit a walk-off two-run home run against the Yankees at RFK Stadium, turning a probable defeat into a 4-3 victory. As he saw his blast land in the Nationals' bullpen, the 21-year-old rookie raised his right index finger far above his head. As he headed toward home, he fired his batting helmet high into the sky, then leapt into the arms of his waiting teammates at home plate with a huge grin on his face. Then Zimmerman went 1 for 25. [...]

On the Fourth of July, Zimmerman hit another walk-off home run, this time a three-run, two-out, two-strike drive into the same bullpen to beat the Marlins, 6-4. One strike from defeat, he handed Washington its fourth straight win. He also became the only player this season to hit two such instant defeat-to-victory homers. Some players go a whole career and never pull off that trick. [...]

This time, as he saw his ball disappear, Zimmerman only fired his finger halfway over his head. As he headed for home, a half-smile on his face, he merely flipped his helmet a couple of feet over his head, almost mocking his performance of 16 days earlier. And his leap into his teammates' arms was enthusiastic, but not kid-crazed.

His teammates noticed. "Well, hell, he's getting used to it," veteran catcher Brian Schneider said.

Scouts say he's going to be as good a fielder as a Mike Lowell or even Mike Schmidt and he handled shortstop pretty well at the end of last season. Why not try leaving him at ss for awhile?

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 6, 2006 7:58 AM

Huh? Dude played one game at ss last season for the Nats and made 2 errors.

He does seem to be playing a mean third thsi season, with a BP RATE of 110, equal to Lowell, tho both lag behind the maginifcent Crede's 114.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at July 6, 2006 10:49 AM

Lowell, predictably, ranks 1st at 3B.


Zimmerman played ss in the minors too late last year and they think he could play in the majors at least now while he's young. Why not try?

Posted by: oj at July 6, 2006 10:56 AM

Lowell's great. Just not as good as Crede. (I prefer BP's RATE, both b/c BP are the best stat dudes in general, and b/c zonerating so often conflicts with other rankings used by ESPN and the like, such as range factor. I have a hard time trusting a stat like that.)

As for ss, yeah, maybe the dude can cut it, but I was responding to your assertion that he'd (a) played it last season and (b) played it well. He did neither.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at July 6, 2006 11:17 AM

he played ss at the end of last season and according to Baseball Prospectus demonstrated the "range and ball field instincts" for it, but they prefer to play him at 3b. Ten games is too small a sample to worry about a few errors for a 20-year old. That seems too cautious given that they could have a Ripken instead of a Rolen.

Crede and Lowell are both fine 3b, of course you prefer any number you can dig up that puts Lowell below Crede.

Posted by: oj at July 6, 2006 11:32 AM