The Criminally Underrated Ryan Zimmerman

Yesterday, I took part (along with Jonah Keri and 28 other contributors to ESPN’s baseball section) in a Franchise Player Draft. We were tasked with selecting one player who we would want to build our franchise around, and in this hypothetical world, actual contract status was irrelevant. I ended up drawing the fourth pick in the draft, giving me an embarrassment of riches to select from, especially after my request to trade down was denied.

By the time my pick was up, Troy Tulowitzki, Evan Longoria, and Felix Hernandez were off the board. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t get a crack at Tulo, who was a pretty easy call as the first player selected. I figured Longoria would probably be gone as well, and wasn’t surprised at all when Keith Law snapped him up. David Schoenfeld made my life easier by taking Felix, which meant that I didn’t have to worry about whether or not I should consider drafting a pitcher – the only one worthy of that kind of selection in my mind was already gone, allowing me to focus on a handful of elite position players to choose from.

As you see in the link, I ended up taking Joey Votto, who I would say is the safest bet of any player in baseball to produce at an elite level going forward. He’s right there with Albert Pujols and Jose Bautista for the title of best hitter in baseball, he’s several younger than both of them, and he just keeps getting better each season he’s in the big leagues. Votto is the no-risk choice, and I’d argue that minimizing risk in this kind of situation is more important than trying to split hairs between which great player is marginally greater. I had a chance to get an elite player no matter which direction I went, so I focused on getting a player who was almost certainly going to produce at a premium level rather than rolling the dice looking for extra mythical upside.

That said, my selection of Votto wasn’t a clear cut choice. In the end, I narrowed my selection down to five players, choosing Votto over Hanley Ramirez, Jose Bautista, Miguel Cabrera, and Ryan Zimmerman. Obviously, my board was quite a bit different than most of the others drafting, as Ramirez went #20, Bautista #26 (to the other FanGraphs author in the draft, which is likely not a coincidence), and both Cabrera and Zimmerman went unselected. I was surprised that Cabrera wasn’t picked, but given his issues with alcohol, I can somewhat understand the drafters going other directions. After all, if others were also looking to minimize risk, there are a lot of great players who don’t have some of the baggage that Cabrera brings to the table. I think everyone realizes how great of a hitter he is, but my guess is that he was left unselected because of his off the field issues.

Zimmerman, though, apparently needs a new PR representative. If Schoenfeld had selected Votto, I probably would have taken Zimmerman ahead of the other three runners-up in the discussion with myself. Instead, he’s hanging out with Cabrera in the voting for biggest snub.

Really, though, what else could Zimmerman do to get noticed? I’m not the first person to mention this, but if you like Evan Longoria, you should like Zimmerman, because they’re the exact same player.

Longoria, 2009-2011: .284/.367/.510, 134 wRC+, +36.3 UZR, +16.6 WAR
Zimmerman, 2009-2011: .300/.378/.518, 137 wRC+, +28.8 UZR, +15.1 WAR

The gap in value is entirely the result of Longoria getting more playing time this year due a shorter DL stint, but they’re essentially twins. Their numbers across the board are the same no matter what category you look at – walk rate, strikeout rate, power, defense, whatever. Zimmerman is a year older and currently on the disabled list, but he’s still younger than most other players selected and a current lack of health didn’t stop Josh Johnson, Joe Mauer, Buster Posey, or Stephen Strasburg from being drafted. Zimmerman’s abdominal strain is not a long term concern, and so I find it hard to believe that it played a major role in his snubbing.

Instead, it seems like Zimmerman simply suffers from a lack of national exposure. Longoria has played in the World Series and had the national spotlight shined upon him in the process, while Zimmerman has spent his career playing for losing teams in Washington. He didn’t burst on the scene with a strong debut, but instead has taken the slower path of improving each year he’s been in the big leagues. He’s not a commanding personality, and even on his own team, has been overshadowed by the likes of Adam Dunn and Stephen Strasburg. Pretty soon, he’ll also have to share the spotlight with Bryce Harper.

With the focus on his teammates, it can be easy to forget that Zimmerman is the Nationals best player, and one of the best players in the game. He may have gotten ignored yesterday, but he deserves to be mentioned in any conversation of cornerstone franchise players.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.

126 Responses to “The Criminally Underrated Ryan Zimmerman”

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  1. dbake005 says:

    When I saw this thread title I shed tears of happiness. I was going insane throughout that entire draft. I broke things.

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    • Mr. wOBAto says:

      Why would you be upset? So they took Ramos I would say those two are a push.

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      • jaywrong says:

        Ramos is a push with who?

        If its Zimmerman, you’re pretty dumb dude. Don’t breed.

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      • Mr. wOBAto says:

        Ramos is pretty good

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      • jaywrong says:

        not really.

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      • Mr. wOBAto says:

        Oh good you turned on your sarcasm filter, although Ramos is exactly the kind of piece that Washington will need to surround Harper, Strasburg and Zimmerman with in order to reach contender status

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      • donald says:

        ramos is already a cleanup hitter at age 23…. sorta like hosmer who bats third at age 21…

        the talent that people saw in ramos was similar to posey and santana. even the minn announcers are denouncing that trade.

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      • jaywrong says:

        @mister wobato, i think you need to look up sarcasm. i do not think it means what you think it means.

        when i said not really, i meant… not really.

        @donald, that is more the function of line-up and current roster at hand. ramos is a solid catcher, but does not have a high ceiling, and will have zero affect on the nationals when compared to strasburg, harper, or zimm.

        he has some power, and good defense. but he is not a game-changer. simply moderately skilled and a cheap piece to the puzzle. expect norris to take over the next couple of years.

        you guys really need to do some research…

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      • Mr. wOBAto says:

        I was being sarcastic you ignorant git, doubly so when I said you had turned your filter on.

        I don’t think any thinking person with even a cursory understanding of advanced metrics would consider a 26 year old Zimmerman coming off of two consecutive 7+war seasons to be roughly equivelant of a 23 year old catcher who has a ceiling of Bengie Molina.

        Thank you though for your insightful and interesting rebuttal of an argument that wasn’t being made, you sir are a genius.(so glad I went and looked that word up)

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      • jaywrong says:

        if you can’t make it obvious, then that’s your mistake.

        gib? should i start calling you a wino now?

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      • kick me in the GO NATS says:

        Ramos is no Zimmerman, but you guys underestimate Ramos more than you should. He is one of the best defensive catchers I have ever seen and he is only a rookie. Add to that, he is a pretty good hitter as well. I see Ramos as a year in and year out 4+ WAR catcher once he has a few years experience (junior year onward).

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  2. dbake005 says:

    If Zimmerman donned a Phillies, Braves, Yankees, or Red Sox jersey… it would make all the difference in the world. He got snubbed as an all star last year (only because the NL MVP Joey Votto had to make it in on the final vote, somehow), and snubbed on the gold glove a year ago as well. I’ve loved him since his Virginia days, and I can understand people wanting Longoria over him… but after that, there is no argument… It is Longoria and Zimmerman #1 and #1A, yet he is hardly mentioned.

    I’m getting mad just mentioning this.

    Thank you, Dave, for stating the obvious that everyone else refuses to.

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    • JT Grace says:

      Don’t include the Braves in on that list of teams. Many Braves players are tremendously underrated and undervalued because of where they play too. Had Chipper Jones played for the Yankees or Red Sox his name would be mentioned with the same reverance as players like Mickey Mantle and Joe Dimaggio.

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      • jaywrong says:

        I don’t know many players that are mentioned with Mantle and DiMaggio.

        We know who Chipper is just fine. Atlanta got a lot of love during the 90′s, as much as the Yankees and more than the Red Sox.

        Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz were household names for that decade as well. Move to San Diego and root for the Pads if you want to bitch about being underrated or undervalued…

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  3. eric_con says:

    I’m amazed how similar those numbers are.

    Why were there so many pitchers selected (11 of 30)? Its been my understanding that pitching performance is a lot more volatile and hard to predict (especially the young guys!). I would think you want a guy who could help you every 1 days instead of every 5.

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  4. jcj5y says:

    Perhaps it will turn out that the addition of players like Strasburg and Harper (both of whom were selected in the franchise draft, along with the Nats young catcher Wilson Ramos) to the Nats will bring the exposure that Zimmerman needs to be appreciated. Every time I go to Nats Park, I can expect to see at least one play in the field from Zim where I think “no one else could have done that.” And his flare for walk-off home runs, while not something that’s valued much by statistics, seems like something the national media would have latched onto.

    I just hope that the Nats have the sense to lock him up long-term before he becomes a free agent after 2013.

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  5. dbake005 says:

    If they don’t lock him up long-term, I’ll be truly upset at baseball for awhile.

    He and Longoria both get in grooves where you can tel from their first at-bat that they will just be on all night.

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  6. n_jaeger says:

    Great article Dave. When I was following this draft yesterday, I was trying to guess each pick. Well, after pick #5 or 6, I think I said to myself “Bautista or Zimmerman” for every pick up until Keri took Bautista.

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  7. Mr. wOBAto says:

    Ryan Zimmerman is a lot like Scott Rolen in that untill he has at least one eye popping offensive season he will continue to be horribly underrated the the average fan.

    Much like Matt Holliday or Choo in Cleveland, Zimmerman gets so much of his value by not being below average at anything.

    Jack Welch once said that differentiation is key in valueing a commodity, the problem with guys like those three is they are firmly in the upper echelon of every pack but don’t stand out in any back of the card stats.

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    • NEPP says:

      Hopefully he can stay healthier than Rolen over his career. A healthy Rolen is a surefire HoF…the reality Rolen is much more borderline as a result of all that time missed.

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  8. Jon says:

    I think we can all agree

    Ryan Zimmerman is no Wilson Ramos

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  9. Scuzzlebutt says:

    Was anyone else stunned that Neftali Feliz was taken at all? He’s been worth -0.4 wins thus far. I’d never have taken a reliever there but even so there are many many relievers better than him, particularly one Jonny Venters.

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  10. dbake005 says:

    Well said, Jon.

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  11. Dandy Salderson says:

    I agree that Wilson Ramos is MUCH better than Miguel Cabrera.

    -Omar Minaya

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  12. skipperxc says:

    That draft was a great idea ruined by some really inexplicable picks.

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    • JCA says:

      Actuallly, that draft is more an indictment of ESPN than anything else.

      Do most of you look to ESPN for analysis anymore?

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      • Friedman says:

        AJ MASS IS AMAZING LOLZ

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      • Sean says:

        ESPN does analysis like MTV does music.

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      • Robbie G. says:

        Why do I continue to pay any attention to who gets nominated for an Academy Award and who wins an Academy Award? Particularly ever since “Forrest Gump” won Best Picture? I cannot provide a good answer to that question. Nor can I provide a good answer to a related question, i.e., “Why do I ever watch ESPN or look at ESPN.com anymore?” I guess maybe my best answer is this: because I want to know what people are talking and thinking about, and, more specifically, I want to know what the purveyors/gatekeepers of information are peddling to the masses. But yes, ESPN is, at best, an embarassment.

        Somebody selected Wilson Ramos? Hilarious!

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      • JohnnyComeLately says:

        Buster Olney’s worth reading everyday

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  13. Cosx says:

    One other factor that keeps Longoria on the minds of every stat-inclined reader: surplus value. The two may be clones, but Longoria is signed to the most team friendly contract in baseball, by such a wide margin, that you can’t have a conversation about small market success without mentioning him by name. If the franchise player draft was re-done, factoring contract, Longo would’ve been #1 very, very easily. I can admit this has colored my perception of him as a player.

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  14. dbake005 says:

    It would have been interesting to let them go for awhile and see how the teams turned out.

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  15. Rick says:

    In other words, Ryan Zimmerman: The new Chase Utley. By the time he starts getting appreciated, he’ll be in decline.

    The recipe seems pretty simple. Do everything well, play great defense, but don’t hit for elite average or power. Tulo made the mistake of making too many highlight plays and getting Web Gem play.

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  16. David says:

    From the very bottom of a Nationals fans heart, thank you Dave!

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  17. Pat says:

    They should have went a few more rounds, I’d be very curious to see what they end up with.

    And I’m sorry, but the Ramos pick was odd, he’s not even an everyday player. The Mauer pick wasn’t great either. There were still a lot of good players not selected: Holliday, McCutchen, Kemp, Bruce, McCann, Youkilis, Reyes, Haren, Weaver, Cahill, etc…

    Imagine if someone took Jeter…

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    • donald says:

      youk’s on the decline, 3 solid years and then 2 ok to good years left. mccann probably 4 years to 6. weaver is $ and so is cahill.

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  18. Chris B says:

    I was blown away by how inexplicably horrible that draft was. Aside from the obvious mistakes like Feliz, Ramos ahead of Miggy and Zimmerman, the chat among the drafters was inane. It seemed that a generally agreed principle was “get your ace pitcher now.” I think you draft a stud fielder WAY before a stud pitcher if you’re building a franchise. Injury concerns and the fact that fielders impact 150ish games versus 30ish are sending me in the direction of a fielder.

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  19. jpjazzman says:

    I completely agree with most of this article, except I think you brush off the injury concerns too easily. He missed 63 games in 2008, 22 games in 2010 (injury stints at both the beginning and end of the year) and so far he has only played in 8 games this year. Yes, an abdomen issue isn’t nearly as big of a concern as some other parts, but he’s now accumulated ab, thigh, shoulder, trunk injuries over the last three years. This isn’t to say longoria has been without his injuries, but I think you gloss over the injury concerns a bit too easily.

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  20. Patricio says:

    Starlin Castro being taken, but not Zimmerman, made me want to throw up.

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    • Mr. wOBAto says:

      In fairness to the Castro pick he is 5 years younger than Zimmerman, and he plays a very thin position and is putting up a .735 OPS at the age where Tulo was getting ready for the Draft, and Hanley was putting up a .740 OPS in AA

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      • Patricio says:

        In fairness to your analysis, that makes him a good 2nd-3rd round pick. There are far better candidates for the 1st round.

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      • Mr. wOBAto says:

        Well it is a 10 year player they are asking you to take, you can do a lot worse than a SS who just turned 21 who has a 105 OPS+ and is coming off an age 20 season where he was 4th in wOBA among SS.

        If you want to win this year there are plenty of better choices, but if you are talking 10 years Castro is a solid selection.

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  21. m123 says:

    lets push it back ten years, to 2001

    pujols rookie year, ichiro (ROY MVP), AROD, JETER… pretty interesting right?

    its all opinion, writers are suppose to do this so people talk more about it. tats part of the business. “do this” means to irritate u, make u piss off, destroy things…. thats why not many people who are educated listen to the BS that ESPN radio gives out anymore… sick and tired of the nonsense…

    anyhow, i think zimmerman and hosmer got snubbed.

    sometimes guys dont pann out, franceouer, beltran, etc. its not looking good for hanley, j reyes, and mauer.

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    • dbake005 says:

      Explain that last part…?

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    • Balagast says:

      “sometimes guys dont pann out, franceouer, beltran, etc. its not looking good for hanley, j reyes, and mauer.”

      What exactly do you mean by this comment. Just seeing Franceour followed by Beltran confuses the heck out of me.

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      • dbake005 says:

        Exactly like… huh??

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      • Mr. wOBAto says:

        I assume he means going forward, although he may mean unrealized potential(Beltran better mean Francis in this case)

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      • howie says:

        zimmerman is the new beltran, at age 27 zimmerman will have 4-5 good years left just like beltran…its all about understanding foresight, guys like jason bay at age 27 dont last long…

        beltran 27 in 2004, 2008 was his 20/20 year after that nothing…
        jose reyes is 28 today, he’ll be lucky to hit 30 homers the rest of his career.
        jason bay was 27 in 2006, only 3 good years afterwards.
        hanley will be lucky if he finishes his career w. 275 HR.
        francouer is also age 27 and likely has 4-5 productive years left.
        mauer will be lucky to finish his career w. 175 Homers
        helton was 27 in 2001, only had 4 productive power years after. 2005 he only had 20 bombs.

        i can see why ramos age 23 got picked before zimmerman. hosmer got snubbed

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      • Oscar says:

        Damn howie, you’re dumb.

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      • Evan_S says:

        @howie

        The reason Beltran hasn’t done anything since 2008, is cause he only played half a season in 2009 (where he was excellent in the 80 games he played) and was out most of the year in 2010. Now that he’s healthy again, he has a .381 wOBA.

        And @m123
        It doesn’t look good for Jose Reyes? You mean the guy who has the highest WAR of any player in the NL not named Votto? (And that’s only cause he missed the last 3 games because his grandmother dies).

        I’m waiting for the article “The Criminally Underrated Jose Reyes.”

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      • howie says:

        u can call me back when zimmerman is a piece of crap in 2015. pat burrell was 27 in 2004 only 4 good years after,

        adam dunn 27 in 2007, only 3 good years after

        zimmerman will be a DH or 1st basemen in 2016, its 2012 meaning franchise player? u can find a younger 1st basemen or DH by then. looks like your the dummy

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      • Mcneildon says:

        Howie, if you’re going to make an argument that Zimmerman will decline, fine. But, using comparison players like Burrell and Dunn who were never close to his level isn’t going to help your argument.

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      • fredsbank says:

        howie, it’s a good thing you mention home runs as your means of evaluating guys like mauer, beltran, reyes, h. ramirez, bay, franceour and helton, because a) dingerz are all that matter from a hitter and b) those guys all derive most/all of their value from their dingerz…

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      • oscar says:

        all of you are sure dumb

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      • Mcneildon says:

        And what’s wrong with that, Oscar? Helen Keller had a movie made about her.

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      • cobradc23 says:

        Howie, first of all you are comparing Zimmerman to Pat Freaking Burrell and Adam Dunn which is ridiculous. Then you say Dunn was 27 in 2007 and “only” had 3 good years after that? Would those years be 2008-2010, the last 3 full seasons that were played? So, he has had a horrible couple of months and he is completely done, huh?

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    • Joof says:

      Since 2001, the most valuable players in baseball have been the following:
      1. Pujols
      2. A-Rod
      3. Barry Bonds
      4. Lance Berkman
      5. Carlos Beltran
      6. Ichiro Suzuki
      7. Scott Rolen
      8. Chipper Jones
      9. Derek Jeter
      10. Chase Utley

      I’m really really confused how Beltran made your “sometimes guys just don’t pan out” list.

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      • donald says:

        looking at the beltran argument, he was 26 in what year? tell me how many good years did he have after that. right… even wilpon his owner flames him as not living up to his contract. he will be lucky if he can go 350 homers and 300 SB for his career, not going to happen.

        utley at #10, really? utley at age 26 was mvp like, after that bust.

        zimmerman is 26 now, likely 5 good to great years left, after that u could find a sleeker younger model to replace him. same goes for mccann. mauer 28 now, likely 5 solid years.

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      • Joof says:

        Utley’s WAR by Age.
        24: .5
        25: 1.6
        26: 7.5
        27: 7.3
        28: 7.9
        29: 8.3
        30: 8.2
        31: 5.4 due to injury.
        32: This year.
        So, at 26 he was MVP level, and 5 years later, he’s still MVP level, and last year he was merely upper all-star level.

        Beltran’s WAR by age.
        21: .2
        22: 4.4
        23: .5
        24: 5.4 (2001, the start date in question)
        25: 5.6
        26: 6.8
        27: 6.6
        28: 2.7 (Anyone know why he hit for such little power this year?)
        29: 7.9
        30: 5.5
        31: 7.6
        32: 3.0 injured
        33: .8 injured
        34: 1.7 this year, on pace for 5.2

        So in 2001, when the OP said Beltran wouldn’t have worked out, you would have gotten MVP quality play in 7 season, another half season of MVP play, and this season again of high quality play. To say he didn’t work out is just silly.

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      • dave says:

        you are all off topic, were talking zimmerman age 26 here. utley not a franchise player anymore neither is beltran when he was 26. wilpon said so and shouldve never signed him long term. there is a reason why GMs get fired.

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      • fredsbank says:

        donald are you just howie posting under a different name? you make the exact same follies..

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  22. Slevin Kelevra says:

    Maybe he should stay healthy to begin with

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  23. Jim says:

    Obviously Zimmerman should’ve been picked, but the gap between him and Longoria is bigger than WAR represents. One does it in the AL East, the other in the NL.

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    • Mr. wOBAto says:

      Zimmerman would be the same player for the Rays as he is in Washington.

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    • NEPP says:

      Yeah, there’s no good pitching in the NL East…

      ~starts whistling~

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    • D0nc0smic says:

      Zimmerman actually faced better pitching on average last year than Longoria, and usually faced it in less hitter friendly parks.

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    • kick me in the GO NATS says:

      the argument that Zim is better than Longoria when both are healthy is clearly true. Zim plays in a pitchers park and still has a better slash line. Zimm has faced on average better all round pitching than Longoria. Longo never faces Price or any of the Rays pitchers while the Nats have had terrible pitching, but have had to face superstar pitchers.

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  24. Jim says:

    Dave, I assume if you were drafting a whole team and not just one player you would not have taken a 1B first?

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    • JT Grace says:

      I was surprised by the selection of a 1B that early too. You can’t argue with Votto’s numbers, but 1B is a relatively easy position to fill. I would have gone with Zimmerman or Braun at that spot.

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  25. Eminor3rd says:

    Running down the list of picks confirms that someone like me should be the one on TV talking about baseball, rather than the type who chooses an already peaked, injury-laden, high risk SP like Josh Johnson sixth overall in the midst of a historically run depressed environment like today.

    Glanville’s pick is a HILARIOUS exclamation point that makes me hope he ends up a GM in the AL Central someday.

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  26. JT Grace says:

    I watched that draft live yesterday and was stunned by several of the selections and the non-selections. I did my own list and I had Zimmermann in my top ten list of players I would select.

    The only pitcher that I would have selected in the top 30 was Felix Hernandez. Pitchers are too up and down and injury prone to build a franchise around.

    There were some completely outrageous picks in that draft. Neftali Feliz is a closer and may always stay a closer. There is no way he belonged on the list. Michael Pineda was selected based on how he has done in 2 months of his rookie season. Tommy Hanson was equally impressive his first 2 months of his rookie season but hasn’t been quite as dominant since then.

    However, the most obvious omission was Brian McCann. Joe Mauer has had one great offensive season and has suffered injury problems for the last 1 1/2 years. Buster Posey hasn’t even played a full year in the majors yet. However, the fact that Carlos Santana AND Wilson Ramos were also selected and not McCann was off the charts crazy. McCann averages 24 HRs per 162 games played, has a career BA of .290 with a career OBP of .367. He is a 6 time all-star at age 27 (and he has been named an all-star by the managers and players, not the fan votes). The Braves pitching staff also leads the NL this year so he also can call a pretty good game too. BMac deserved the nomination more than Santana, Pineda, Feliz, Ramos, and a couple of others.

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    • Chris B says:

      I don’t think you take a catcher in the first round. How many World Series winners have been built around a stud catcher?

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      • JT Grace says:

        I disagree. The hardest positions to fill with guys who can hit and field the position are catcher, SS and CF. If you fill one of these positions with a stud hitter then you are already ahead of the game.

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      • Mr. wOBAto says:

        Well you could argue that the big red Machine, and the Yogi era Yankees were built around a catcher

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      • Chris B says:

        I agree that SS and CF are premium positions that should be considered in this round, but a catcher that can hit is a luxury. A great defender with a decent stick could probably be found in a later round.

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      • Jack says:

        The 2010 Giants.

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      • bill says:

        The hardest positions to fill with hitters are C, SS, 2B, CF, in that order.

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      • Chris B says:

        The Yogi-era Yankees were built around Dimaggio and then Mantle and I don’t think that any of these guys are in Johnny Bench’s ballpark. If Johnny Bench was on the board, though you’d be right.

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  27. Bill Smith says:

    Come on, there’s no way I could’ve got Matt Capps for Ryan Zimmerman.

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  28. Brad says:

    PLEASE do a FanGraphs one to compare!

    +21 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Joncarlos says:

      I agree… someone needs to show them how it’s done. Maybe 3 rounds with the rules a bit more clearly defined.

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      • Telo says:

        Totally agree. Set parameters like, all players are signed at 80% of their hypothetical FA value, or something, so that we’re not talking contract value we’re talking production. And that in this draft, you’d be picking your teams to completion, so position scarcity matters. etc. Would be fun to see.

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  29. Chris B says:

    I would basically ignore prospects like Trout and Harper if I were really doing this draft. The best strategy would be to build a “win now” team and pick up prospects later. The money you make on Pujols, Cabrera, Longoria and Zimmerman now can be reinvested later into the farm system and free agency. The idea of building a baseball team around a teenager is nuts. If this were an NBA draft it would be a totally different story.

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    • NEPP says:

      Flashback to 1992:

      “I’m taking Brien Taylor. He’s a can’t miss guy I can build my franchise around!!!”

      Top prospects are great…until they suddenly aren’t.

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      • donald says:

        rocco baldelli, cant miss…. the next mantle!!!!!

        josh hamilton!!! woooohoooooo

        ian kinsler was also all hype, no 20/20/.240+

        history repeats itself………………………. b. harpeeeeer is foreaaaaaaal…. strasburg could be the next k wood or m prior… but he def. brings a circus atmosphere, i gotta love that

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      • Ton says:

        Maybe – but Harper’s numbers are unprecedented – and some of the mega prospects have panned out – Griffey, A-Rod, Josh Hamilton (after awhile), Kinsler is a top 2B…

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    • JT Grace says:

      I agree to a certain extent. Since the point was to pick your franchise player for the next ten years, I wouldn’t draft Pujols just because of his age. My strategy would be to draft guys who are age 28 or younger with no significant injury history. I would stay away from pitchers altogether except maybe for King Felix. I would try to get SS, C, or CF first if at all possible. I also would not draft a prospect, because like others have said, they may not pan out.

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    • Telo says:

      Yep. Those were the worst picks of the draft by far. You are jumping for joy if Hosmer or Trout are 80% as good as Zimmerman. The only reason those picks are even close to defensible is if you are considering player control and contract value into the equation… which I’m sure they weren’t.

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  30. Stew says:

    I started an Ottoneu league this year, and was able to nab Tulo AND Zimmerman with reasonable auction bids. I expect to be set on the left side of my infield for the next decade.

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  31. microwave donut says:

    McCutchen was the biggest omission to me.

    He’s been worth 9.4 WAR in 2 seasons of service time with upside for more. Oh and he’s 24 and he plays center with the athleticism to stick there. There are really 30 better players out there? Really?

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    • Telo says:

      His fielding is a small question mark, but agreed, he is on the list of snubs and probably should have been in the 25-30 range.

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    • donald says:

      yes mccutch is similar to carl crawford, their careers will probably mimic each other. or possibly j damon.

      mccutch 20/30 type of guy the next 3 seasons. with upside of 30/35 and then at age 33-35 about 18/20/.270-280

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  32. donald says:

    the wilson ramos for m capps trade looking awful.. mauers contract…. similar to zitos…. awful…

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  33. thparadox says:

    Overall, the whole franchise draft revealed how ignorant most espn analysts are about player values.

    1) Position players are far more reliable than pitchers. Pitchers are constantly getting injured. How many Randy Johnsons, Roy Halladays, etc. are there? The elite hitters normally stay excellent for a long time.

    2) Catchers have a tendency to get injured. This either a) hurts their hitting ability, or b) it moves them to another position. So the advantage of position scarcity is probably outweighed by the risks of the catcher position.

    3) In baseball, proven, elite players are way more valuable than prospects. (different in basketball, which has just 2 rounds). Even the elite prospects who become successful often take many years to reach their peaks, so long that they’re on another team…

    4) Timelines. Are you signing the 20 year old to a 15 year contract? If you can’t guarantee that he’ll be around in his prime in 6-7 years, then what’s the point? Give me 5 years of consistent, elite production.

    Carlos Gonzalez at pick 24 is nuts.

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    • Barnabas says:

      With Gonzalez, you’re back to one of the fundamental questions of this draft – how much do you value youth and potential over experience and track record? While he’s only had one year, it was a heck of a year for a (6.6 WAR) – especially for a 25 year old.

      All that doesn’t make him a top 10, like his buddy Tulo. But it does put him in the discussion for top 30, and 24 is a very reasonable place to take him.

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  34. donald says:

    lets see start of 2008, pujols, tulo, hanley, braun, miguel cabrera, fielder.

    cabrera/fielder not even top 30 on this list anymore. neither is ryan howard.

    dont think pujols should be on the 2011 list.

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  35. donald says:

    hosmers first 99 AB produced superior numbers than ramos first 202 AB. just saying…

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  36. dave says:

    crim underrated is gordon beckham shouldve been taken instead of RAMOS

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  37. Ted says:

    You were going to take Bautista over Pujols? Really? He’s just a few months younger… You’d think the lead contributor to Fangraphs would be more aware of the limitations of a 200 PA sample size.

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    • Barnabas says:

      There’s also the issue of 2010. I hear he was kinda good then, too.

      But I agree with your broader point – both Bautista and Pujols are getting a bit old to think of as decade-long franchise building blocks.

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  38. Brennan says:

    Josh Johnson at 6? Anyone else have a problem with that? He is good but 6! Over a guy like Braun?

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    • Barnabas says:

      Johnson is one of the best pitchers in the game, and I don’t have a problem having him among the first pitchers taken.

      However… The whole draft was filled with lust for starting pitchers, which, as has been pointed out numerous times on this thread, are both volatile and injury prone. So you’re absolutely right, 6 was too high.

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  39. Young Gung says:

    Man, its clear that the Fangraph authors would’ve destroyed that draft. Like Dave said, everyone was trying to “split hairs”, not many were trying to take the smart simple things. It amazed me how many people wanted unproven players or players with little to no draft pick as their first round pick over proven studs, some still relatively young.

    It just seems like every one over at fangraphs is simply more knowledgeable when it comes to baseball. Its like everyone else is at least one step behind on everything damn near. I will say that some of those picks, were seemingly senseless fan picks, namely JJ and Feliz. You have to put your personal likes aside at that point.

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  40. Jeff says:

    Man, Ravech sure picked the right player for a whole host of stupid reasons…

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  41. kick me in the GO NATS says:

    ESPN’s analyst are journalist. So they are inclined to pick guys for different reasons than a Fangraphs guy. They aren’t dumb just motivated differently.

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