August’s Best Hitter

Last night Ryan Zimmerman hit his 27th HR, already a career high with over a month to go in the season. After a disappointing season last year, in which he spent over a month and a half on the DL, Zimmerman is back to the level of play we saw in his excellent 2006 and 2007 season. Even better, actually, already worth over 6 wins and posting the best wOBA in baseball during the month of August.

Offensively he is getting on base more and hitting for more power than ever before. His walk rate is over 10%, and probably the result of a much lower O-swing rate without a decrease in Z-swings. His ISO is also at a career high, thanks to hitting more balls in the air (his GB% is at a career low) and more of those going over the fence (his HR/FB jumped up to 16% after being 11% in 2006 through 2008). No doubted aided by playing his first full healthy year away from the cavernous RFK stadium.

Defensively he is no slouch. For the past three years he has played better third base than anyone (although that time period conveniently excludes Evan Longoria). Going forward we can fully expect him to be a +10 run third baseman and one of the top handful of defensive third basemen in the game.

The Nationals have had a disastrous season on and off the field. On field their offense has acutally been fairly good, in no small part because of Zimmerman. But their run prevention horrid. The off field issues have begun to turn around with the signing of Strasburg and hiring of Rizzo. So maybe Zimmerman will play behind some guys who can pitch and with some other players who can field in his time as a Nat.




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Dave Allen's other baseball work can be found at Baseball Analysts.


18 Responses to “August’s Best Hitter”

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  1. pm says:

    When will the media realize that Ryan Zimmerman is the best 3B in baseball. It’s obvious, but no one talks about it because of the team he plays for. Going forward, he could be a consistent 7 win player and future MVP candidate.

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    • don says:

      Because it’s not obvious? He’s having the best season by a 3B this year, but Longoria and Wright are two young guys who are capable of 7 win seasons as well.

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      • PhD Brian says:

        Sorry Zim makes D Wright look like a loser. He is playing a different game than Wright. Wright is good, but overrated. Zim is right now the best all round player in the game if you look onjy at the numbers. Has been for two months (granted a small sample) but nonetheless.

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      • don says:

        Wright compiled 15.8 WAR from 07-08. He hit .313/.403/.540 with 63 HRs and 49 steals in 59 tries. Sure, his defense is overrated, but over those two seasons he was one of the best hitters in the NL. I’m not going to call a 27 year old done because he had a bad (but still well above average) season.

        Zimmerman is a great player but he hardly makes Wright ‘look like a loser’. Also, he hit .240/.296/.469 in July, and yes, one month is a pretty small sample size.

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  2. DJ says:

    He is the best third baseman in all of baseball and one of the classiest guys in the game.The Nationals are on the right track and when they do become a competitior, a lot of credit will go to Zim and rightfully so.

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  3. Matthew says:

    longoria is 20 times better… zimmerman is playing meaningless games….

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    • PhD Brian says:

      so what, Longoria is surrounded by talented guys that make his job much easier. It is much harder to play for a losing team and excel than a winning team.

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  4. harry says:

    I put Longoria and Zimmermann at the same level. I think Longoria has more power
    upisde though, and of course, is better defensively. But I’d take either of them in a
    hearbeat. David Wright I’m concerned about. He lost his power this season.. And who
    knows if he’ll be the same player after that concussion..

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  5. nick says:

    while I don’t think it’s fair to annoint Zim as the unequivocal best 3B in the game just yet, it’s really not fair that he isn’t considered on the same level as David Wright and Longoria. It was a freaking joke when people say that Sandoval got snubbed on the AS team because of the 1 player per team rule meant Zimmermann had to make it. Pablo should have made it, different story though. If Washington can put any sort of talent around him (ie keeping willingham, finding a second baseman ie dan uggla, etc) then this is a team that could take off in 3-4 years once Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann hopefully become ace type pitchers for them

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  6. Melkman says:

    Uh he’s done it for 1 season, (Zimm). Overreacting a bit? I know he has the pedigree to be great. Do it again next year is all I’m saying. Wright has done it much longer and we are throwing him off the wagon because of one down year. Ridiculous. Even Longoria has played at that level longer than Zimm.

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    • Will says:

      What? Just one season?
      At age 21, Ryan Zimmerman was 4.1 WAR. The next year, he was 5.1 WAR. The year after that he played through injuries which sapped his power, and likely his defensive range. Now that he’s healthy again, he’s the 6th best player in baseball (only slightly less valuable than Albert Pujols), and you’re saying people are overreacting for calling him one of the best 3B in the game?

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    • nick says:

      yeah it’s been more than just one season, it’s been two great (including 09) and one very good season as well. This guy is an amazing player plain and simple

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  7. Andrew says:

    Zimmerman is a stud. Makes tough plays look routine and has incredible range and has hitting streaks this year of 30 games and another one for 15 games.

    Final offensive stats should be great to compare to all players not just 3Bs.

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  8. JT says:

    Zimm is very good. If he can be this good on a disastrous team, though improving, imagine the recognition when he is surrounded by players of like caliber. Up is the only direction this player is going. A true baller.

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  9. Mark Reynolds says:

    Grab my bags Zim. And grab me a paper.

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  10. Jeff says:

    Here is another article with several terms (wOBA, ISO, GB%, HR/FB, z-swings) that don’t show up in your glossary. Oh, please help.

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    • Dave Allen says:

      Jeff,

      See my reply to your last comment in the Wainwright article. All of these stats are briefly explained in the quick glossary at the top of each stat section on the player pages.

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