Ryan Zimmerman
Ryan Zimmerman
33-Year-Old First Baseman1B
Washington Nationals
2018 Fantasy Outlook
Zimmerman was an endgame consideration in most mixed leagues last season, but he turned out to be a tremendous value for the owners who took the late flier. Underneath his disappointing 2016 numbers was a player who was near the top of the exit velocity leaderboards, which prompted a series of adjustments designed to help him generate a better launch angle. Those changes, paired with improved health, allowed Zimmerman to swat a career-high 36 homers -- the same number he hit in the previous three seasons combined -- while he delivered a .303/.358/.573 line en route to the best OPS (.930) of his career. Amazingly, his plate discipline and batted-ball profile barely changed, although his strikeout rate jumped above 25 percent in the second half. Buy into the skills, but it would be prudent to alter the playing time volume expectations based on the myriad of injuries that have impacted him throughout his career as Zimmerman has averaged 112 games played annually since the start of 2013. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a six-year, $100 million contract extension with the Nationals in February of 2012. Contract includes $18 million team option ($2 million buyout) for 2020.
Hits bench Sunday
1BWashington Nationals
September 23, 2018
Zimmerman is not starting Sunday against the Mets.
Zimmerman hits the bench after a run of six starts. Mark Reynolds will enter the lineup as the Nationals' first baseman.
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Batting Stats
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Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2016
Since 2016vs Left .954 324 51 19 58 1 .302 .373 .580
Since 2016vs Right .765 1028 129 45 145 5 .254 .307 .457
2018vs Left 1.130 82 13 5 16 0 .377 .463 .667
2018vs Right .733 227 17 8 33 1 .231 .291 .442
2017vs Left 1.038 143 22 10 30 0 .331 .385 .654
2017vs Right .895 433 68 26 78 1 .295 .349 .547
2016vs Left .683 99 16 4 12 1 .200 .283 .400
2016vs Right .632 368 44 11 34 3 .222 .269 .363
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2016
OPS at Home
OPS on Road
OPS at Home
OPS on Road
Since 2016Home .819 658 84 35 101 3 .265 .324 .495
Since 2016Away .799 694 96 29 102 3 .266 .323 .476
2018Home .778 151 14 7 25 0 .237 .311 .467
2018Away .889 158 16 6 24 1 .296 .361 .528
2017Home 1.041 276 48 19 54 1 .345 .399 .643
2017Away .829 300 42 17 54 0 .265 .320 .509
2016Home .582 231 22 9 22 2 .189 .242 .340
2016Away .701 236 38 6 24 2 .247 .301 .400
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Stat Review
How does Ryan Zimmerman compare to other hitters?
This section compares his stats with all batting seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 400 plate appearances). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
While a lot of things went very right for the Nationals last year, Zimmerman regaining his swagger was not one of them. He once again couldn't stay off the DL, and even though his 115 games played were his highest total since 2013, he didn't do much with those extra plate appearances, posting a career-low .642 OPS and career-high 22.3 percent strikeout rate. Now 32 years old and with a bad shoulder that limits him to first base, there's little reason for optimism in Zimmerman's future. He didn't even put together his usual big finish to the season, hitting just .222/.259/.333 in 81 at-bats through September and October, although he did show some life in the playoffs. Heading into the final year of his contract, the one-time face of the franchise may find himself slowly pushed to the bench in 2017, as the 21 games Daniel Murphy played at first base could be a sign that the front office no longer views Zimmerman as even a short-term option at the position.
Coming off the worst season of his career, Zimmerman seems a lot older than his listed 31 years of age, as injuries have completely scuttled his production over the last two seasons. A move across the diamond was expected to help save some wear and tear on him, but a case of plantar fasciitis plagued him all summer before an oblique injury ended his campaign for good. His second-half numbers were much improved, however, as he slashed .311/.372/.652 with 11 home runs in 135 at-bats between the two lengthy stints on the shelf, giving the Nationals some hope that he can still be productive if he can just stay off the DL. The Nats don't have anyone coming up through the system to replace Zimmerman at first base any time soon, though, and Clint Robinson and Tyler Moore are stop-gaps at best, so if those hopes don't pan out things could get ugly in Washington again in 2016.
Although he resisted the idea for as long as he could, it became clear in 2014 that Zimmerman's balky shoulder just wouldn't allow him to play third base any longer, and he ended up playing more games in left field than at the hot corner. The shoulder ended up being the least of his worries though, as a broken thumb and severe hamstring strain limited him to just 61 games and a miserable five home runs, reducing him to essentially spectator status as the Nationals fell to the Giants in the first round of the playoffs. Zimmerman will move across the diamond to first base this season, a move which should help keep him in one piece, and if he can stay off the DL, he should be able to rebound to the 25-homer, 80-90 RBI level of production that his owners were used to. There's some risk here, but also plenty of potential reward if his draft day price is right.
For a guy whose final numbers always seem fairly consistent, Zimmerman is an amazingly streaky player. This time around, he limped into September with just 15 home runs and concerns that his shoulder issues might finally have sapped his power, but those concerns vanished after an 11-homer barrage to close out the season. His 79 RBI were the lowest total of his career, but that was as much due to the offense around him as his own early-season struggles. If you roster Zimmerman, odds are good that at some point he'll seem like a wasted investment, and at some point he'll be the hottest hitter in the majors.
Zimmerman's season can be divided into two epochs, BC (Before Cortisone) and AD (After Doctor). Playing through a sprained joint in his shoulder, Zimmerman managed a feeble five home runs, 31 RBI and a .234 batting average through the first few months. A late-June round of cortisone shots proved to be just what his fantasy owners ordered though, and he exploded for a .319/20/64 line from July on. He underwent offseason surgery to hopefully fix his shoulder once and for all, and while his injury history is extensive enough to make you nervous, it is hard not to mentally multiply those second-half numbers by two and salivate over the thought of what a healthy Zimmerman might do in 2013.
Zimmerman only amassed 440 plate appearances because of an abdominal strain suffered in April. Obviously his home-run total was down because of time missed, but his overall power numbers suffered in 2011. His .154 ISO and 10.9 percent HR/FB ratio were the lowest of his career, and his numbers suffered from a 50.5 percent groundball rate, also a career high. Still an above average third baseman (with some throwing problems), expect his numbers in 2012 to more closely resemble his 2010 campaign now that he's healthy again.
Nagging injuries cost him a few games, but Zimmerman kept building on his skill set, as he inched his walk rate up a notch and set a career high in OBP. He's the cornerstone position player of the franchise, an asset both with his bat and with his glove, and swapping Adam Dunn out for Jayson Werth shouldn't hurt his counting stats. Zimmerman is a keeper, in every sense of the word.
Zimmerman took a major step forward in 2009, breaking the 30-homer mark for the first time while posting new career highs in OBP and SLG thanks to a massive .350/.442/.670 August. He won't turn 26 until the end of the season so there's still some room to grow in those offensive numbers, especially if the Nationals keep upgrading the roster around him and providing him with more RBI opportunities. One more season like 2009 and Zimmerman will actually deserve the franchise player tag the organization has been trying to hang around his neck since they drafted him.
Zimmerman faced adversity for the time in his major league career, suffering through a slight labrum tear in his shoulder that rendered him ineffective at the plate. He bounced back after taking a month off for rehab, however, hitting .320/.367/.420 in August and .290/.347/.516 in September. An offseason of rest should have him fully back at 100 percent, and he should return to his usual level of production, or even higher if his power improves due to the exercise regimen he needs to strengthen his shoulder.
Aside from a few misplaced singles, Zimmerman's numbers were nearly identical to his rookie campaign, but he's still only 23 and his development can hardly be said to have leveled off yet. Moving out of RFK Stadium should help his numbers too, as Zimmerman's power tends to be in the gaps more so than down the line. His defense remains exemplary, and his offseason wrist injury shouldn't be a problem once spring training begins. The Nationals have some problems, but third base isn't going to be one of them for a long time.
Zimmerman's rookie campaign was a thing of beauty, as he played Gold Glove-caliber defense while moving smoothly into the clean-up spot in the batting order and breaking the 100 RBI mark. Only 22, he's already emerged as the face of the Nationals franchise, and if it weren't for David Wright and Miguel Cabrera it would be very easy to envision a string of All Star game starts stretching long into Zimmerman's future. As it is, the in-division rivalry between the three has the chance to become legendary, making third base in the N.L. East in the 2000s what center field was in New York in the 1950s. If that makes Zimmerman "only" the Duke Snider in that competition, it's doubtful anyone in Washington will complain.
Zimmerman couldn't have had a better pro debut if he'd had Barry Levinson directing it. The Nationals' first ever draft pick, he proceeded to tear through the minors en route to a .397/.419/.569 September in Washington. Now firmly entrenched as the team's third baseman of the present and future, he may not hit quite well enough to join the likes of David Wright, Miguel Cabrera and Scott Rolen among the elite NL fantasy third basemen, but Nats fans should be more than happy with their 21st century version of Brooks Robinson.
More Fantasy News
Not in Saturday's lineup
1BWashington Nationals
September 15, 2018
Zimmerman is out of the lineup against the Braves on Saturday.
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Retreats to bench for Game 2 of twin bill
1BWashington Nationals
September 11, 2018
Zimmerman is not in the lineup for Game 2 of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Phillies, Mark Zuckerman of MASN Sports reports.
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Not in Game 1 lineup Saturday
1BWashington Nationals
September 8, 2018
Zimmerman is out of the lineup versus the Cubs in Game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports.
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Available off bench
1BWashington Nationals
September 6, 2018
Zimmerman is available off the bench Thursday against the Cubs, Mark Zuckerman of MASN Sports reports.
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Heads to bench
1BWashington Nationals
September 6, 2018
Zimmerman is not in the lineup Thursday against the Cubs.
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