Washington Nationals: Five X-Factors For The 2017 Season

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /
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Washington Nationals
Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

Ryan Zimmerman

In the early stages of his career, the Washington Nationals lineup would focus on the play of Zimmerman. Now at age 32, Zimmerman has a chance to be an under the radar contributor at the bottom of the order.

Last season, he hit .218 with 15 home runs, 46 RBI’s, and had a negative WAR for the first time in his career. After a rough start to spring training this year (0-for-17), it appears Zimmerman has bounced back and found his form to a degree.

Since that rough patch, he has 12 hits in his last 23 at-bats, including a home run and three doubles. But, that might not be his best stat of the spring. The veteran has shown good plate discipline if you go by his eight walks, which is more than anyone on the team.

With that plate discipline, it looks like a good sign heading into the regular season. Keep this stat in perspective. Last year, he walked 29 times. In the last season he played in 100 or more games (2014), he walked over double that total (60).

If Zimmerman can bounce back in 2017, that only adds more depth to the Washington Nationals lineup. He has gone from being a superstar on the team to a player where anything you can get from him is a bonus. By hitting at the bottom of the order, having less pressure on him could lead to him bringing more contributions this season, if he is healthy.