Washington Nationals: Top 10 homegrown players in team history

Washington Nationals
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ryan zimmerman
ryan zimmerman /

1. Ryan Zimmerman

Isn’t it fitting that we conclude with “Mr. Walk-off”? The Nats drafted Ryan Zimmerman with their first pick after returning to DC, and they could not have selected a better player and person to build the team around.

Despite being drafted in 2005, he debuted that year and immediately excelled. In 20 games as a September call-up, Zimmerman hit .397 with ten doubles.

In Zimmerman’s first full season in the majors, 2006, he owned a slash line of .287/.351/.471 to go with his 20 homers, 110 RBI’s, and 47 doubles. The Nats struggled mightily as a team, but Zimmerman was one of the few bright spots.

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In addition to his offensive prowess, Zimmerman was among the best defensive third basemen in the league. Unfortunately, several arm injuries would eventually force him to move to first base, but he is a solid defender across the diamond as well.

Throughout Zimmerman’s 13-year career, he has a batting average of .280 with 251 homers. He has always been a streaky hitter, but he has great overall stats.

Unfortunately, Zimmerman has been exceptionally injury-prone throughout his career. Because of this, he has missed some time and struggled when playing through injuries or recovering. The injuries led to a few disappointing seasons in 2015 and 2016, but he was finally healthy in 2017.

Because he remained healthy, 2017 was one of the best seasons of Zimmerman’s career so far. In 144 games, he hit .303 with 36 homers and 108 RBI’s. He was also an All-Star starter and was named the National League Comeback Player of the Year.

At 33 years old, Zimmerman has already set several team records. A few of the records he holds are games played (1552), runs scored (883), hits (1664), total bases (2828), doubles (371), homers (251), and RBI’s (937). He also holds several others, and should break some more throughout the remainder of his career.

Finally, Zimmerman has shown tremendous loyalty to the Nats. In today’s game, players routinely change teams and play for the highest bidder. However, Zimmerman has spent his entire career with the Nats, making him an extreme outlier.

A Virginia native, Zimmerman has fit in perfectly with the DC community and Nats fanbase, contributing to him being a fan favorite. He has long been a team leader and face of the franchise, and should continue to be through the end of his playing days.

Ryan Zimmerman has earned several nicknames throughout his 13-year career, with one being “Mr. National”. This nickname could not be more fitting, as he is the best homegrown player in team history.

Next: Nats could make blockbuster trade with Rays

For now, that’s our top ten homegrown players in team history. However, with several of them still playing for the Nats and a few highly-touted prospects in the minors, this list could change in a few years. Stay tuned!