The 2012 season marked another incredible year for our longest tenured National, Mr. Ryan Zimmerman. After being held to just 101 game appearances and a 1.6 WAR in 2011, Zimmerman would come back strong for the Nats and post eye-popping numbers, especially mid-to-late season following a life-changing cortisone shot in his right shoulder on June 24.
2012 Prediction (ZiPS): .283/.354/.476, 22 HR, 78 RBI, 134 games, 515 AB
2012 Actual: .282/.346/.478, 25 HR, 95 RBI, 145 games, 578 AB
Statistics projected for Zimmerman were pretty spot-on given a shortened season for the Nationals’ superstar 3rd baseman in 2011. Zimmerman would start off slow for the Nats, as right shoulder tenderness inhibited a strong hitting performance from the 28-year-old throughout April and May and into June. Zimmerman even missed 13 games between April 21-May 6 due to shoulder soreness, but while his numbers increased slightly following an early May comeback, the true Ryan Zimmerman we know and love would officially return following his third cortisone injection of the season in late June.
After posting a sub-par .234 batting average in the first three months of the season, Zimm went on a tear in July, as he would bat a whopping .366 with 10 homeruns and 24 RBIs in the month alone. His numbers were just as good in August and even better during a Nationals’ West Coast road-trip in which he slaughtered Astros, Giants, and D-Backs pitching. Key games included a 3-5, 2 run night on August 13 in which the Nationals handedly beat the Giants 14-2, and a matchup against the Astros on August 6 in which Washington beat Houston 5-4 in extras behind a 2-4, 2 RBI performance from Zimmerman. As you might have guessed, Zimm’s batting average went up an insane .050 between the end of June and start of September.
Unlike some of the Nationals’ other superstar hitters, Zimmerman played extremely well in the playoffs and certainly added his two cents to the postseason run. He grabbed at least one hit in every game of the NLDS against the Cardinals, and finished with a postseason batting average of .381 with two homeruns and a 1.078 OPS.
As reported by the Washington Times’ Amanda Comak, Zimmerman underwent successful arthroscopic shoulder surgery on October 25 and should be ready to go for Spring Training. The Nats look to improve upon a tremendous 2012, and as all fans realize, Ryan Zimmerman will be one of if not the most important piece of the puzzle in 2013. Zimm is under contract through 2020 and will make $14 million next season.
Chien Ming Wang