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ZIMMERMAN LOVE ON A SLOW NEWS DAY

[November 26th] -- Ryan Zimmerman was in his car returning home to Virginia Beach late last month when he gave an interview with a local Charlottesville radio station. Here are some excerpts you may find interesting:

On Frank Robinson:
"Um, Frank did so much for baseball in general over the years, both as a player and a manager. He broke ground for minorities and did a lot of great things. The way he treated me as a young player, from learning from my mistakes and figuring out what to do at that level, I couldn't have had a better guy to learn under for my first year -- what to do, what not to do. He was great."

On the Nationals future:
"We aren't that far from winning, it's just that our pitching was banged up all last year. Because of that trade with the Reds, we had a pretty potent offense the second half of the season, one of the most productive in the league. We'll be okay next year if we pick up some arms. We'll score runs, we'll just have to see how the pitching goes."

On which of his stats is most important to him:
"Gee, I don't know; people thought I was going to come into the league and hit a lot of doubles because that's the kind of hitter I am -- you know -- gap-to-gap style. That's just the way I am. As far as home runs, I had no idea what I'd do. I didn't know if I was going to hit 5 or 25. This was my first complete season with a wood bat. I guess I'm most proud of my RBI's because they help your team too. To get a lot of RBI's, you have to be able to hit with two strikes, you have to be able to hit with runners on base, and these are times when the pitcher is bearing down and trying to not let any runs score. That makes driving in runs harder."

On his favorite web gem:
"Oh, I guess that one in Atlanta when I was going back and dove, and that was pretty fan, and the last one in New York when I kinda caught the ball and was in the stands and whatever, and that one was fun because the New York people heckle you pretty bad, but if you do something good they get on your side. Well, they were heckling me all day and so it was fun when they appreciated what I did. I actually ended up getting ketchup and mustard on my pants that day."

On the length of a major league season:
"To tell you the truth, that's what I was most worried about - the length of the season. You play three or four games in a city against one team then get on a plane and go play somewhere else, and then before you know it, it's the all star break, then there's only fifty games left, and then the year's over. I was worried about losing weight and not maintaining my strength, but that turned out okay.

On hitting the "rookie wall"
Rookie wall? No, not really. I have fun every time I go out and play, and that's the biggest thing. If you come in and you're tired from a long trip and you're late, but once you're in the stadium in front of all the fans, you get excited and want to have fun, it's not really a problem. I had such fun this year - life in the majors - the fans - everyone watching every play - loving the good plays and hating the bad ones. It was a ride.

Zimmerman is experiencing love from a variety of sources these days. This from "Baseballistic:" He's one of baseball's best rookies in 2006, but most people don't realize just how much Ryan Zimmerman brings to the table. Here's a closer look. Ryan Zimmerman is a 5-tool player in the truest sense of the word. He has power, speed, good defense, a good batting average, and a good eye at the plate Is there any more you can ask of a 21-year-old 3rd-baseman? Zimmerman is batted .287 with 20 HR and 110 RBI in his rookie season. He also has 47 doubles, 11 SBs, and a .457 SLG. The rookie also has a terrific glove and arm at third-base. All that talent is adding-up to a strong case for NL Rookie of the Year, and a rock-solid case for "Most Underrated Third-Baseman" of the Year.

And this from "The Book - playing the percentages in baseball:" Zimmerman is one of those "finds" (or more like a stamp of approval) from the Fans Scouting Report. Before the season started, this is what was being written about him: "Jim Bowden doled out after he was drafted, saying Zimmerman had defensive ability comparable to the all-time greats at third base, to Brooks Robinson and Mike Schmidt and Scott Rolen, 32 Gold Gloves among them." Now, you hear exaggerations all the time. However ... In his rookie season this year (he was drafted fourth overall and signed last year), Zimmerman will finish in the top 20 in the Fans Scouting Report, behind Rolen and Chavez at third base. This is a huge piece of information to have, to go along with whatever UZR will say. This is his regression point, and not the average (0) fielder at 3B. Rolen, Chavez, Inge, and Crede are his regression points. FWIW, Zimm is also at +2 wins in clutchiness. Add it up.... +1 win above average with his bat, another +2 wins in clutchiness, another +2 wins for his fielding, and you've got a guy at +5 wins above average. He turns 22 in two days.

Just felt like giving Ryan some love. Enjoy the rest of your day


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