Per the team’s official twitter account, the Nationals have just announced that Ryan Zimmerman will go to the DL with a hamstring injury, and that top prospect Anthony Rendon is being recalled from AA Harrisburg to take his place, both on the roster and in the starting lineup.
This news is simultaneously exciting and discouraging. Rendon is widely regarded as the Nationals’ top prospect, ranked as such by both Baseball America and District on Deck’s own rankings this offseason, and BA pegged him as the 30th best prospect in baseball. You can read my scouting report on him here. In 14 games this season at Harrisburg, he has hit .292/.462/.500 with two home runs, 14 walks, and nine strikeouts. He also made his case by posting a .375/.412/.875 line in 13 Spring Training games this year. He is a stellar player on both offense and defense, but there is a world of difference between AA and Spring Training and the majors. Optimists will recall the similar circumstances surrounding Bryce Harper‘s MLB debut last April: the roster spot was opened by a Zimmerman DL trip. However, Rendon’s situation is different: as a third baseman, he will return to the minors immediately once Zimmerman returns to health. Given the apparent lack of concern over Zimmerman’s hamstring before today, that should be sooner rather than later.
The news regarding Zimmerman’s move to the DL is the discouraging part. Injuries have been his main problem throughout his career, and this will mark the third consecutive year in which he has made an April DL trip. Hopefully he can come back fully healthy and ready to play the rest of the season, but this injury shows that his health fragility has not improved.