We continue our player review series for the 2015 Washington Nationals’ season by looking back at the year of one of the team’s free agents, Jordan Zimmermann. Heading into this season, Zimmermann was expected to do big things as the number two starter in the rotation behind Max Scherzer. While the 29-year-old right-hander had a decent season (13-10, 3.66 ERA), his ERA was a full run higher than his 2.66 ERA from 2014. Plus, his FIP of 3.75 was the highest he had in any season where he’s made more than 26 starts.
When you look back at Zimmermann’s 2014 season, the one stat that stood out was his pinpoint control. In 32 starts, he walked 29 batters, which was tied for the fewest walks he had in any season (2009). This year, that walk total went up to 39 and his WHIP of 1.20 was the third highest he has had in any given season.
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The main issue that Zimmermann had at times this past season was giving up the long ball. In his 33 starts, Zimmermann gave up 24 home runs, which was a career-high. 16 of those 24 home runs occurred in the second half of the season with nine of them coming in the month of August. The 24 home runs allowed was second on the team, trailing only Scherzer (27).
Another factor to take a look at when you break down Zimmermann’s 2015 is his home/road splits. At Nats Park this year, the right-hander was 8-4 with a 2.94 ERA and held opponents to a .238 batting average. When he was pitching away from his home park, he went 5-6 with a 4.87 ERA in 14 starts and opponents hit .299.
Looking back at Zimmermann’s season, the one start that stood out to me this season from him occurred in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Blue Jays on June 2. Facing one of the best offenses in the game, Zimmermann went eight innings, gave up no runs on six hits, struck out four, and walked one on 105 pitches (69 strikes).
Even though the Nationals offered him the qualifying offer of one-year, $15.8 million on Friday afternoon, he is not likely to accept that deal and he is sure to leave DC. If he does leave for another team, he still is one of the best pitchers to wear a Nationals’ uniform.
Despite being prone to giving up the long ball, Zimmermann still threw 201.2 innings and only had six starts in which he didn’t pitch into the sixth inning. Even though it was somewhat of a down season for Zimmermann, he still gets a good grade for the 2015 season.