After getting off to a bad start this spring, Ryan Zimmerman is red hot at the plate of late for the Washington Nationals
For the first part of spring training, Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman was struggling to get a hit. He was hitless in his first 17 at-bats before a single against the Houston Astros last Wednesday. Now, with that first hit out of the way, Zimmerman is doing damage at the plate.
It seems like since my fellow co-editor Ron Juckett wrote that it was time to worry about Zimmerman, the 32-year-old is starting to find his swing. He has seven hits in his last ten at-bats, which include the good performance he had in Jupiter, Florida yesterday against the Miami Marlins.
In that game, Zimmerman went 3-for-3 with two RBI’s in the Nats 9-4 win. It may only be spring training, but keep this stat in mind. Last season, he had three games of three or more hits and had a multi-hit game in 21 of his 115 games (about 18%).
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Early on in the spring, Zimmerman was hitting a ton of ground ball outs. Now, he is finding a way to make good contact and the ball is going a long way. One of his three hits yesterday was a two-run home run in the top of the sixth that went a long way:
While spring training stats don’t mean as much to some players, it’s impressive that Zimmerman has gone from the bottom of the hit column on the team to near the top. His seven hits now puts him a tied for ninth on the team with two other players (Adam Eaton and Andrew Stevenson).
Since the Washington Nationals have a good lineup already, Zimmerman isn’t going to be relied on heavily this season to be one of the team’s leading run producers. He will likely be at the bottom of the order. In fact, Nats fans would love to have Zimmerman finish with a WAR over one for the first time since 2013.
When Zimmerman’s 2016 season is discussed, people look at his Statcast numbers and see that the average velocity on his swings was 94.1 miles per hour (14th in the league). His manager, Dusty Baker, might not have been talking about him, but he had an interesting quote Saturday about those advanced numbers:
Zimmerman isn’t competing for a job this spring, so the goal should be for him to stay healthy. The stats are not the end all, be all to define a successful spring and he has been healthy the whole time. But, it has to be good for him to get some positive results and establish some confidence with two weeks to go until Opening Day