Our ten seasons later series continues today as we look at how Ryan Zimmerman did for the Washington Nationals in 2008
We continue to look back at the first Washington Nationals team to play at Nats Park by talking about the only player from that team still with the Nats. 2008 was Ryan Zimmerman’s fourth season in the big leagues, but it was not one of his better seasons in a curly W uniform.
Over 106 games, the then 23-year-old Zimmerman had a slash line of .283/.333/.442 with 14 home runs and 51 RBI’s. The 14 home runs was the second fewest he has hit in any season where he has played over 100 games (12 in 2011). Plus, his 51 RBI’s was the second lowest he has had in a season (46 last year)
While Zimmerman had an off season in 2008, he did end up finishing tied for the team lead in home runs with Lastings Milledge, third in hits, fourth in RBI’s, and second in batting average among players who played in 100 or more games (Cristian Guzman was first – .316).
The season started off well for Zimmerman that year. In the first game ever played at Nats Park, the man known as Mr. Walk Off hit a game-winning solo home run to left center against Peter Moylan to defeat the Atlanta Braves, 3-2.
On June 2, Zimmerman had to go on the disabled list because of a slight tear in the labrum of his left shoulder. The third baseman did not return to the lineup until July 22, which was the Washington Nationals second series after the All-Star break.
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Once Zimmerman got back to the lineup, he started to go on a hot streak at the plate. In the month of August, he hit .320 with nine RBI’s and had a .367 on-base percentage. His 32 hits that month were third on the team behind two players we already profiled on this series (Milledge and Ronnie Belliard had 36).
After a down 2008, Zimmerman came back in 2009 and had the best season of his career. He made his first All-Star team, had a career high 33 home runs, drove in 106 runs, and ended up winning his only Gold Glove at third base.
Now, as we fast forward to 2017, Zimmerman is about to enter his 13th season in the big leagues and is now at first base for his third straight season. Yes, he might not ever reach the home run and RBI totals he did in 2009. But, that doesn’t mean he can’t bounce back in an already deep lineup. His current manager, Dusty Baker, seems to think so:
If Zimmerman can elevate the ball more this season and can stay healthy, he has the chance to hit 20 home runs again for the first time since 2013. 2008 was a down year for one of the Nats franchise players. But, as he showed the season after, you can always bounce back.