Without a hit this spring, Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman’s slump is real. Here is a closer look why.
After yet another unsuccessful day at the plate, it is time to be concerned about Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman.
Last year’s “King of the Laser Outs” is now 0-for-17 this spring. In nine games, he drew three walks, and that is it. The four strikeouts are not terrible. A slow start is not the end of the world, it is spring.
The balls hit on the ground around the infield are concerning. Zimmerman still stings the ball off the bat, but they are hit so low they are not the line drives catches from last year, but routine grounders. With a runner on first, you have a better chance for an easy double play than see him go to second.
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For Zimmerman, 2016 was harsh. Injuries over the years derailed a promising career. Able to play over 100 games last year, he hit .218. A career-low by 29 points.
Still, he slugged 15 home runs and 18 doubles while driving in 46., it was not pretty, but Zimmerman was productive.
At the end of last year, the ball sounded wonderful off his bat, only to find an outfielder on the run. Although he struck out his fair share, 104 times, Zimmerman made contact on the pitches he wanted and just could not get balls to fall.
This spring is another story.
Yes, it is easy to read too much into Grapefruit League numbers, but most of Zimmerman’s contact finds the infield ground. The sound is solid; the ball hardly finds the outfield.
This may be an easy fix. Zimmerman may spot something on video he did before that he is not doing now. Maybe more time on the practice field and less games may help. An change in his stance might fix his launch angle, one of the new figures teams use to help with production.
He is not broken. Might be a case of an extra-long Spring Training messing with his routine.
The first true National is an old and bruised 33 now. We might have reached the part of his career where this is the best he can do. With Adam Lind on the roster, they have a capable hitter with power already.
Still, this is not how you want Zimmerman to go out. He means more to the team and city with his presence than people realize. In this push to win now, no one player would appreciate a World Series more than him.
The coaches and Zimmerman can make a change somewhere—and these games are about getting work in—but early returns are not good. That is troubling.