This is new territory for Washington Nationals Fantasy Outlooks, Zimmerman won’t be drafter in many leagues this year. Even though he may not be drafted, has he might be the fantasy steal of the year.
Ryan Zimmerman 2013: .275/.344/.465 with 26 home runs, 79 RBI and 6 stolen bases
This was a All-Star caliber year and so many Nationals fans and many more fantasy baseball players forget that this player was valuable. He most certainly has the chance to be valuable again. Two things have to go right for that to happen.
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To start, Zimmerman has to stay healthy. He has only played in more than 100 games once since 2013.
Why is 2017 the year he can magically do this again? Well, that one time since 2013 was last year and he is going into his first fully healthy spring training in a long time. Plus, he’s got a reliable backup that can give him a normal day of rest in Adam Lind. The Nats are not looking at him to be a savior they just need Zimmerman to be good.
Zimmerman also has to capitalize on his power.
As I’m sure you have heard when Zimmerman hits the ball, he hits it very hard. Actually, according to MLB Statcast his average exit velocity was 14th best in the league at 94.1 mph. His launch angle on the other hand is not too pretty, launching rockets at an average of 7.6 degrees which is good enough for that “rocket” to die a said death just past the infield most of the time.
The best home run hitters are sitting at around 10-12 degrees. That low launch angle puts him at a .248 BABIP, which if he had played enough games to qualify for Fangraphs rankings he would’ve had the third lowest in the game. If Zimmerman finds a way to get that launch angle up a little and keep his power, don’t be surprised if you’re looking at someone with 25 home runs at the end of 2017.
If Zimmerman can stay healthy and capitalize on his power he could end the year as a top 10 first basemen in fantasy baseball. With that being said do not go out and draft him. Purely because you don’t need too and there are more reliable options.
Let’s say you own a solid first basemen already and he gets hurt, that’s when you thank your lucky stars that you read this post and go right to your waiver wire. Pick up Zimmerman and he could hold you over until your first basemen comes back or in a better case you may have some trade bait on your bench.
I’m not saying his comeback is a guarantee but I’d say it very possible. If you end up being a benefactor of this comeback you will most certainly be a happy fantasy baseball player, which is all any of us want to be.