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.

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