This is something that I’ve been saying for several seasons now and it appears as if others are coming around as well. In a February 3rd article on cbssports.com a panel of 4 of their writers discussed and ranked the best 3rd baseman in all of baseball judging by who they would want most for the next 3 seasons. And who did they rank number 1 overall?
Our very own Ryan Zimmerman…
Well I guess if you want to get technical you could say it was a tie between him and Evan Longoria but they did list him first plus this is Teddy Never Wins so who cares about Longoria? I know I don’t so lets take a look at what Zimmerman has done to earn his ranking.
Zimmerman has continued to show improvement at the plate raising both his batting average as well as his on base percentage in each of the last 3 seasons. He was the 2009 and 2010 NL Silver Slugger winner at 3rd as well as the 2009 NL Gold Glove winner at 3rd base. I honestly thought he or Chase Headley deserved the 2010 NL Gold Glove over Scott Rolen but that’s an argument for another time.
Despite playing for what has been a pretty bad team Zimmerman has managed to shine putting up 162 game averages of
95 runs, 25 home runs, 98 rbis
and has managed a career ops+ of 121 with an ops+ of 142 in 2010.
Just to give you an idea of the pace he is on from a historical point of view
Zimmerman through 6 seasons
1. Zimmerman 321 extra base hits in744 games vs Mike Schmidt 325 extra base hits in779 games
So Zimmerman through 6 seasons has just 4 less extra base hits than Schmidt did in his first 6 seasons and Zimmerman played in 35 less games.
2. His 121 ops+ ranks 12th all time amongst 3rd baseman for their first 6 seasons
Of those 12 players 8 of them were older than Zimmerman was at the end of his 6th season. For example Schmidt was 28 when his 6th season ended compared to Zimmerman who was only 26 when his 6th season ended. Other players were further in to what would be considered their prime years which helps add to their statistics.
With Zimmerman’s amazing bat for his position as well as his superior glove and the fact that youth is on his side he is on a pace to becoming one of the top 10 3rd baseman of all time.
There are not many players that I can honestly say I’ve felt honored to watch their career unfold but Zimmerman falls in to that category. Whether it be his making the next to impossible plays in the field look easy or him coming through in the clutch moments at the plate he has been an amazing player to watch.