2011 MLB Preview: Looking at Ryan Zimmerman and the Washington Nationals on Paper
Once Stephen Strasburg went down and needed Tommy John Surgery, the 2011 season immediately felt like a transition year.
Then during the offseason, Washington went out and signed Jayson Werth to a seven-year $126 million deal. It certainly scratched some heads. Now Werth gets to prove that his numbers weren’t a result of playing in Citizen’s Bank Park and hitting behind Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.
- C- Pudge Rodriguez- 7
- 1B- Adam Laroche- 7
- 2B- Danny Espinosa- 7
- SS- Ian Desmond- 7
- 3B- Ryan Zimmerman- 8.75
Pudge Rodriguez (39) 398 AB .294 BA 32 R 4 HR 49 RBI 2 SB
- Even at his age, Pudge still gets it done behind the plate.
- As for his batting, he likes to take the ball the other way at this point of his career.
Adam Laroche (31) 560 AB .261 BA 75 R 25 HR 100 RBI 0 SB
- Laroche is consistent and one of the more unheralded players in baseball, but he’s got to replace Adam Dunn. He’s going to give you about 25 home runs and 85 RBI a season.
- Laroche has a smooth swing and can drive the ball to all parts of the field.
Danny Espinosa (24) 103 AB .214 BA 16 R 6 HR 15 RBI 0 SB
- Espinosa showed some pop during his late-season call-up, but he strikes out too much for my liking. He needs to cut that out. Even in the minors, he struck out 116 times while walking 41 times.
- Patience must be exherted with Espinosa, and the Nationals are in the position to allow him to develop.
Ian Desmond (25) 525 AB .269 BA 59 R 10 HR 65 RBI 17 SB
- He did commit 34 errors last season, but he showed potential defensively. He has excellent range to either side and a strong arm.
- As a hitter, Desmond is aggressive, but he loves the fastball middle-in.
Ryan Zimmerman (26) 525 AB .307 BA 85 R 25 HR 85 RBI 4 SB
- Zimmerman is a terrific all-around player and he’s still just 26; the best years are still ahead of him.
- The two-time Silver Slugger award winner is superb defensively, arguably the best defensive third baseman in the league. He has great reaction time and range.
- LF- Rick Ankiel- 7
- CF- Nyjer Morgan- 7
- RF- Jayson Werth- 8
Rick Ankiel (31) 211 AB .232 BA 31 R 6 HR 24 RBI 3 SB
- This is Ankiel’s fourth team in the last four years. The versatile outfielder generates a ton of power, but struggles to make contact.
- Ankiel can play all three outfield positions, and has a hose for an arm.
Nyjer Morgan (30) 509 AB .253 BA 60 R 0 HR 24 RBI 34 SB
- For Morgan’s speed, he shouldn’t be getting thrown out 34% of the time. His batting average took a big dip after hitting .308 the year prior.
Jayson Werth (31) 554 AB .296 BA 106 R 27 HR 85 RBI 3 SB
- Werth has good plate coverage and generates a lot of power to the opposite field. He also takes a lot of pitches evidenced by his 4.37 pitches per plate appearance, third in the MLB.
- Werth plays a deep right field and likes to keep balls in front of him. He also has a good arm and runs like a deer.
- 1. Livan Hernandez- 7
- 2. Jason Marguis- 7
- 3. Jordan Zimmerman- 7
- 4. John Lannan- 7
- 5. Ching Ming Wang- 7
Livan Hernandez (36) 211 IP 10-12 3.66 ERA 1.32 WHIP 114 K
- After back-to-back years of a five plus ERA, Hernandez rebounded last season. The ageless wonder is still a serviceable starter. His fastball these days is in the mid-80’s, but he gets by throwing junk and knowing how to pitch.
Jason Marquis (32) 59 IP 2-9 6.69 ERA 1.70 WHIP 31 K
- Marquis is a short-arm sinkerball pitcher. He’ll toss a slider up there as well. Marquis has struggled with elbow issues lately.
John Lannan (26) 59 IP 2-9 6.69 ERA 1.70 WHIP 31 K
- Lannan had a horrible first half of the year, it resulted into a trip to Double-A. Ultimately, he’s a change of pace pitcher who doesn’t throw hard.
Jordan Zimmerman (24) 31 IP 1-2 4.94 ERA 1.32 WHIP 27 K
- Zimmerman returned late in the season as he recovered from Tommy John Surgery. He throws a straight, hard fastball, but struggles with finding a consistency with his secondary pitches.
Chien-Ming Wang (31) DNP
- The Nationals could go a lot of ways with the fifth starter; Tom Gorzelanny, Yuniesky Maya, Craig Stammen and Ross Detwiler are other options – though none are outstanding.
- RP- Craig Stammen- 7
- RP- Colin Balester- 7
- RP- Sean Burnett- 7.25
- SU- Tyler Clippard- 7.25
- CP- Drew Storen- 7
Craig Stammen, Colin Balester, Sean Burnett
- With a poor starting rotation, the Nationals relievers are workhorses. Burnett appeared in 73 games last season, and posted a 2.14 ERA.
Tyler Clippard (26) 91 IP 11-8 3.07 ERA 1.21 WHIP 112 K
- Clippard led all relievers in wins last season with 11. He has a unique, but effective delivery. He changes speeds well and throws a nice 12-to-6 curveball.
Drew Storen (23) 55 IP 4-4 5 SV 3.58 ERA 1.27 WHIP 52 K
- The Nationals drafted Storen to close, and got his chance late in the season. He throws hard, mid-90’s, and mixes in a tightly spun slurve.
PREDICTION- 68-94 5th NL East
Offensively the Nationals are heading in the right direction with a superstar in Zimmerman, the signing of Werth and youngsters in Ian Desmond and Bryce Harper. They just don’t have enough starting pitching to limit opposing offenses. Strasburg can’t come soon enough
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