Archive for the ‘Ryan Zimmerman’ Category

MLB: New York Mets at Washington Nationals

There was a time when Ryan Zimmerman was one of the best, up-and-coming third basemen in baseball. He hit the ground running his rookie year, posting above-average offensive numbers in his age-21 season. He improved offensively every year, though injury robbed him of some time in 2008. He responded with back-to-back superstar level seasons, asserting himself as one of the game’s premier third baseman.

His early production at the hot corner placed him among the best in baseball history across the first five years of his career.

Third Baseman by WAR (through age-25 season)

Rk Player WAR/pos Age PA HR BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Eddie Mathews 38.9 20-25 3807 222 .281 .388 .556 .943
2 Dick Allen 28.0 21-25 2580 112 .311 .387 .558 .945
3 George Brett 27.5 20-25 3114 51 .305 .351 .455 .807
4 Evan Longoria 27.4 22-25 2414 113 .274 .360 .515 .874
5 Ron Santo 27.0 20-25 3793 137 .278 .351 .471 .822
6 David Wright 26.1 21-25 3048 130 .309 .389 .533 .921
7 Ryan Zimmerman 24.4 20-25 3229 116 .288 .355 .484 .839
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/9/2014.

Unfortunately for Zimmerman, he toiled away for the perennially terrible Washington Nationals, the worst team in baseball in both 2008 and 2009. But Zimmerman was an island of greatness amid the fetid mess that eventually netted the Nats Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg. He provided one rare highlight in those dark days, hitting a walkoff home run to end the first game in Nationals Park history.

Then the Nationals got good! They won the National League East division in 2012, their first playoff berth since moving to the nation’s capital. It would be Zim’s coming out party on a big stage!

Except shoulder injuries already started taking their toll on Zimmerman. After his left, non-throwing, shoulder cut him down in 2008, it was his throwing shoulder that dogged him in 2012. What has now been dubbed an “degenerative condition” in his throwing shoulder, the eventual migration of Zimmerman across the diamond is well under way.

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Hitting three home runs in a game is hard. Very hard, in fact. Last night, Ryan Zimmerman did just that, becoming just the third Nationals player to clout three taters in a single game. He did it against the hated Orioles in an interleague battle at Camden Yards. Which doesn’t make it any less cool, though there were a grand total of eight homers hit in the game overall.

Ryan Zimmerman is something of a Getting Blanked whipping boy because of his ongoing shoulder issues which prevent him from throwing baseballs like a cot damn man. But let’s give him a pass for now, as three homer days tend to live a little longer than weird flip throws across the infield.

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Florida Marlins v. Washington Nationals

Ryan Zimmerman has a wonky throwing arm. This we all but know. His shoulder was all but rebuilt this winter and now, despite protestations that he’s fine, his throwing continues to be a problem. He’s making errors and looks awful at third base.

Getting Blanked probed this issue earlier this month, wondering aloud how much more time Zim has at third base. The Nats mediasphere took to this problem this week, as his poor throws became the elephant in the room. It’s a complex problem with no easy solution. For most people.

Luckily, internet commenters of the world are not most people. This is an open and shut case, like just about everything in the world of the kind of person who takes time to comment on news articles on the website of major newspapers. These brave men and women are not lacking in ideas for how Zimmerman can get right. Let’s dive in and see if we can’t lick this thing, you know?

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Florida Marlins v. Washington Nationals

There is no fate worse than peaking early. One of my good high school friends was bigger than everyone else at 11-years old, which is to say he was the best athlete at 11. He was the star of the baseball and hockey teams because he was big and coordinated, a deadly combination during the nascent days of puberty.

Unfortunately, that high level of athletic achievement at such a tender age took its toll. My dear friend blew out his shoulder as a teenager and was never the same. Watching poor Ian gather, hop and throw only to see the ball limply roll from his fingertips wasn’t easy, though it got pretty funny when we are all too old to play house league baseball.

This friend of mine might as well be Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals. Ryan Zimmerman was really good until his shoulder exploded. Now he’s back (and inevitably full of cortisone!) with a brand new throwing motion, one designed to jib with his wonky shoulder. The early results are…terrifying?

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