Ryan Zimmerman – 4th pick, 2005
This might be somewhat of a controversial choice, but the best Nats first round pick for me has to be their first one. With their first pick as the Washington Nationals, they selected Ryan Zimmerman, a third baseman from the University of Virginia.
During his junior season with the Cavaliers, Zimmerman hit .393 with six home runs, 59 RBI’s, and had a .469 on-base percentage in 61 games. It didn’t take long for him to reach the big leagues as he made his debut on September 1 of that season and played in 20 games.
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Ever since he made his debut, Zimmerman has been arguably the face of the franchise. The All-Star in 2009 has a career batting average of .282 with 209 home runs and 811 RBI’s. He has the most home runs and RBI’s of any player that has worn a curly W uniform.
In 2014, Zimmerman made the switch over from third base to first base for a few games. In the last two years, he has played 142 games at first base and has handled the position well.
While Strasburg and Harper helped get the Nats to a couple postseason appearances, Zimmerman has been a franchise player that helped start it all and is one of the core players that the team has built around since its move to the Nation’s Capital. Even in a draft with Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, Ryan Braun, Troy Tulowitzki, and Andrew McCutchen taken within the first 11 picks, the Nats made the right choice in taking Zimmerman.