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IT'S THE RYAN ZIMMERMAN SHOW

[September 27th] --I think I'm ready to pull the trigger and formally predict that Ryan Zimmerman is going to win the Rookie Of The Year award this season. A couple of weeks ago, I said that, unless he got really hot the last fifteen games of the season, he was probably going to lose out to Marlins' second baseman Dan Uggla. He's not hot; he's on fire.

Zimmerman went 3-4 against Brett Myers, raising his batting average to .286. He drove in a run with a ground-out in the first and plated two more with a line-drive double to left, his 47th of the season and most by a rookie since some guy who played for the Brooklyn "Robins" in the early 1920's. He now has 107 RBI's. Dan Uggla went 2-3 for the Marlins and is now batting .283.

Zimmerman has been a model of consistency throughout his rookie year. Last June 15th, I wrote an article that showed that Zim's statistics, extrapolated out over 162 games, would be: Runs:85 -- Hits:172 -- 2B:45 -- 3B:3 -- HR:23 RBI:103 -- AVE:.277. Heading into the last week of the season, Zimmerman's projected end-of-season numbers are remarkably similar: Runs:86 -- Hits:176 -- 2B:48 -- 3B:3 -- HR:20 -- RBI:109 -- AVE:.286. He has a few more RBI's, a few less home runs, but all-in-all, Zimmerman has remained surprisingly constant. He was on path to walk 60 times in June, and he's on path to walk 60 times today. He has done much better the second half with regard to strikeouts, however. He was on pace to strikeout 155 times in June, but will end the season with about 124. Zimmerman learned to lay off those off-speed low-and-away pitches that caused him so much aggravation earlier in the year.

Often, rookies come into the all-star break with glitzy numbers but pitchers will find weak-spots over the second half of the year, significantly lowering the stats. Not Zimmerman. He had difficulty in late April and early May, but since May 23rd, his average has remained above .270. I hope -- no, I pray -- that Jim Bowden takes a lesson from the Cleveland Indians of the mid 1990's and signs Zimmerman to a long-term deal now, before salary becomes a problem in two or three years.

The Nationals have the opportunity to end the season on a strong note, winning enough games to make the season "quasi-successful." If the Nationals can go 3-2 the rest of the way, the Nats will the season 73-88, much better than the mid 60's total that they looked headed towards a month or so ago. No, 73 wins is not a successful year (but it's what I predicted in March, so I'm "way" rooting for the Nats to hit that number), but that total is only eight wins less than their amazing 2005 total. Eight wins -- about one less per month. From that perspective, it doesn't sound like a radically different total, does it? Eight less wins with no starting pitching, having lost Luis Ayala and Brian Lawrence for the year, Jose Guillen for most off the year and slew of other players for parts of the season; I'd say that the team over-achieved.

C'mon guys; sweep the Phillies and keep them out of the playoffs. It's the right thing to do.


Comments:
Zimmerman says he's not a homerun hitter -- I'll believe the batter every time. Most of hits are line drives. I don't see how any additional maturity is going to change that. He'll be a .300-25-100 type batter, which is fine.
 
Farid, you're unfortunately forgetting about Hanley Ramirez, who has better numbers in many stats than either Zimmerman or Uggla. I'm afraid he's going to get it, and I'm shocked that you've failed to address the threat he poses. Hopefully, however, he'll split votes w/Uggla and maybe Josh Johnson.
 
I think Uggla is still the favorite based on his body of work this year and the fact that he's at a more offensively-challenged position. There's no doubt that Zimm deserves serious consideration and I wouldn't at all be surprised to see him nab the hardware, though.

BTW Farid, I've got a fragile ego that needs constant attention. And by this, I mean that your graphic linking to BoTA has the nasty old orange banner on it. Wouldn't the new and FDR-approved banner graphic look oh-so much better? Call me shallow...
 
Remember when the consensus for Zimmerman's rookie predictions earlier in the year was something like .250/.300/.400 with about 10 HRs and 60-70 RBI.
 
Jeff, The reason I don't believe that Hanley Ramirez will win the ROY award is because he does a lot of things very well, but doesn't have one particular stat that screams "I'M THE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR, DAMN IT!" Also, he was very mortal for the first half of the year, when many voters began to form their impressions of the rookie crop (like me). Of the "big 4" in Miami, I think Ramirez will come in #3 behind Uggla and Johnson and in front of Willingham.
 
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