Nationals Baseball: Lest we forget Ryan

Friday, May 14, 2010

Lest we forget Ryan

With all the hype over Strasburg, the watchful glances toward Desmond, and looks into 2011 for Bryce Harper, let's not forget that what the Nats have in Ryan Zimmerman. Possibly the best offensive player in the National League, and possibly the best offensive 3rd baseman in baseball.

Doubt it?

As it stands now Ryan would have the 5th highest OPS of any hitter in the National League. (with at least 50 at bats) All four of the ones above Ryan, however, are pumped up by ungodly batting averages .393 for Manny, .385 for Andre Ethier, and of course .380 for superstar Ryan Hanigan. Jayson Werth is not as an extreme a case at .345, but he's still a good 50 pts above average. So they should all come back down. Ryan's numbers are based on a high SLG percentage but a batting average that is not out of the ordinary (.319) and could rise to compensate the eventual drop in slugging. (could - it would still be his highest average ever but he's at an age where he should be peaking)

At third base the major league competition boils down to Longoria, Wright, McGehee and Zimm. (Reynolds is what he is - a low average masher. A-Rod is good but on his way down from his great heights) Right now he stands at the head of the class (though admittedly with about 33% fewer at bats). Out of those three only Wright is underperforming in some aspect (BA .279). I'm not saying that Zimmerman will hold off the wunderkind Longoria, but I am saying he can.

The best part about it is that other than Longoria, Ryan is a good 2 years younger than anyone else mentioned in this column. 25 (26 in late September). The Nats have him under contract (quite reasonably) for his best years. This is who the team should be pushing, not Strasburg. (Though Strasburg will be great by all accounts) The Nats have one of the best players in baseball right now playing everyday.


Bryan said...

I'm almost worried, at this point, that Stras has had it too easy in the minors.

I mean, he breezes through A ball, then AA ball, and in his first two games in AAA, he gives up what, 1 hit in 12 innings?

Bryan said...

To keep with the theme of your post, I should mention that Zim is my favorite player on the team, even once Stras is called up.

Unless he starts 10-0.

nattyDC said...

Huge game last night by Desmond that was overshadowed by Zim's bombs. Diving catch in the first, clutch RBIs when the game was still close. And GUUUUZman coming in off the bench in a steady 40 degree rain, and ropin it down the line! This team is actually fun to watch....

Harper said...

Bryan - Would you rather be worried that he's had it too hard in AA? He'll get his knocks in the majors, don't you worry. Remember it's not AAAA. It's the super league where Quadruple A, Quintuple A, and Sextuple A players are all forced to play together.

natty - I wonder if there's ever been a fun team to watch that loses? I remember the Pat Riley Knicks being a winning team that was no fun to watch.

Bryan said...

Harper - true, its a good position to be in. Still, I think I'd like to see him work out of a jam or two, rather than throw no-hit ball time and time again.

Maybe he's just THAT good. Either way, its better than worrying about him not being good enough.

And yeah, there can be winning teams that aren't fun to watch, but losing teams are never fun to watch. At least I can't think of any where I didn't have a long history of rooting for the team already built in.

I've really been a fan of the Nationals, but not baseball, if that is possible the last few years. This team is really making me a fan of baseball itself again.

Hoo said...

Zim is the best third in baseball. He's looking so good that the Nats got a very good deal with his contract. Been a while since a team in the DC area has had a guy who's the best at his position, period.

Re losing teams that are fun to watch: Remember the old Denver Nuggets that were losers but the games would be 140-128 or so. Some of the old run and shoot, no D football teams as well. That could be fun I guess. And losing team that are comically bad are enjoyable in perverse ways.

Last post, I said 7 position players b/c I'm not sure Rizzo knows that a right fielder needs to bat. I'm not bitter that 3/4 of the RFs are hitting below .200 or anything.

Let me just savor the feeling of the wildcard Nats...

And btw, at some pt, Lannan has to be addressed. I think JL needs to get it together or his spot in the rotation will be at risk this summer. I'm guessing he could see some time on the DL b/c isn't the likely end of July rotation right now Livo, Olsen, Stras, Marquis and Wang (doubtful there in my mind)? If the Nats are still in a wildcard spot, I wouldn't' be too shocked to see us move Dett for a corner OF and be buyers in July instead of sellers.

Harper said...

Well the NBA is a bit different because you can be hovering right under .500 and still see the playoffs - which to me doesn't feel like losing. But I guess the 90-91 team fits the bill of being truly horrible and high scoring.

Of course now I expect the huge Rocky Mtn contingent of Nationals Baseball's readership to chime in.

Capone said...

Zimm is currently the Da Man on the team. He will continue to be Da Man and will still be Da Man when SS come up. SS is pitching, not a slugger like Zimm so we can't forget the guy putting points on the board. SS will keep points off the board Zimm will put them on the board.

Let's go Nats!! let's go Zimm

Anonymous said...

Replace Bruney with Storen!