Highs and Lows of UZR 2007-9: Zimmerman

As explained in the overview post, here, this is part of a series looking at the best and worst defensive performers over the past three combined seasons. Rankings are done by adding a player’s UZR with his aggregate positional adjustment so as to level the playing field with regards to difficulty. Essentially, it’s removing the grading curve.

Tonight, the fifth best player from 2007-9: 3B Ryan Zimmerman.

Zimmerman reached the fifth spot thanks to his 2007 and 2009 seasons, during both of which he posted UZRs over 17. He was no slouch in 2008, but it goes to show why we need to rely on more than just one season of defensive data to draw any decent conclusions.

A full time third basemen for the Nationals, Zimmerman received the same positional adjustment (pro-rated to his overall playing time) each year. In four reasonably full seasons so far, Zimmerman’s defensive numbers seem to yo-yo, alternating between slightly above average and extraordinary.

When his bat shows up to match a good year with the glove, as it did this year with career highs in both wOBA and UZR, Zimmerman is a superstar, eclipsing seven wins of value. Even in his worst season to date, last year, he’s managed to be above average both at the plate and in the field, and reduced playing time because of injury only managed to keep him at a 2.2 WAR, still an above average player.

Ryan Zimmerman is one of the stars of the game today. With the arrival of Stephen Strasburg next year, maybe some of the spillover spotlight will find its way to him and he’ll finally start getting his just due.




Print This Post



Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.


7 Responses to “Highs and Lows of UZR 2007-9: Zimmerman”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. sean says:

    I think Zimmerman is underrated in part because people don’t realize how young he is. Next year will only be his age 25 season, and he’s pretty damn good already. There’s still upside to be had.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Big Oil says:

    Makes going to Nationals Park worth it. Made some unbelievable plays in person.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Neil says:

    If Zimmerman can get his OBP up in the .400 range from where he’s at now, he’ll be a perennial MVP contender.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Nik says:

      But a jump from .347(career) or .364 (this years career high) to .400 while maintaining his power numbers and defense seems unlikely.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Lance says:

    Surely Zimmerman should win the NL Gold Glove this year, right?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. longgandhi says:

    Probably a significant factor in the down 2008 was that he was playing injured for much of the year.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>