MLB Player Profile: Nationals Pitcher Jordan Zimmermann
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Wednesday January 23rd, 2013
Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer): Follow @BernieOlshansky
Having his breakout season in 2012, Jordan Zimmermann has been a guy the Washington Nationals have been able to rely on. 27 years old in 2013, Zimmermann helps anchor the young Nationals rotation including Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg. The Nationals had success in 2012, winning the NL East and making the playoffs for the first time as a franchise. The Nationals got unlucky though, and were eliminated by the St. Louis Cardinals in the Division Series. This year the Nationals will hope to build on their 2012 performance, and Jordan Zimmermann will most likely be a big help.
One of the main reasons the Nationals were eliminated so early last season is because of the shutting down of Stephen Strasburg. In the middle of the season, I wrote about the pros and cons of shutting Strasburg down, and in the end the situation ended badly. Last year, the Nationals had a very strong rotation consisting of Strasburg, Zimmermann, Gonzalez, and Edwin Jackson. By shutting Strasburg down, the Nationals lost a quarter of their rotation and had to scramble when the Division Series went more than three games. Ross Detwiler got the start and Zimmermann had to come into the game in a relief role. There was no reason for this to have to happen. Protecting Strasburg was important, but in my opinion the Nationals overprotected him, which cost them dearly in the playoffs.
Jordan Zimmermann Flashback Highlights:
The Nationals will have no problem winning in the regular season, and Jordan Zimmermann is one of the main reasons. Last year, Zimmermann posted a very strong 2.94 ERA and a 12-8 record in 32 starts. As I mentioned earlier, the pitcher is still very young at 27 years old this year. He made his debut in 2009, so he already has four years of experience under his belt. If he builds on last year and posts a similar ERA with a slightly improved win-loss record, we could see an elite pitcher entering his prime. With a good 2013 performance, Zimmermann could be compared to guys like Matt Cain or David Price. In a few years, Zimmermann will receive Cy Young votes and could compete with Strasburg to be the ace of the staff.
For Zimmermann, the Nationals signing Gio Gonzalez was important. As a developing pitcher, Zimmermann benefitted greatly from a veteran presence. Although Gonzalez is just a year older than Zimmermann, he has a full year more of experience. The Gonzalez signing also took some pressure off of Zimmermann and Strasburg in the rotation, because a third guy was able to take some of the load off. Edwin Jackson further helped on that front.
I see the three pitchers in Zimmermann, Strasburg, and Gonzalez maturing together and taking the Nats’ to the playoffs in the years to come. GM Mike Rizzo did a great job building this team and got lucky with the draft classes in the years that he had the first overall pick. With a strong rotation anchored by these three and a strong lineup held down by Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman, I see the Nationals as a very successful franchise in the years to come. This is especially true if Jordan Zimmermann takes the next step and becomes an elite pitcher.
The only concern with Zimmermann is his health. At the end of 2009, he felt elbow pain and had TJ Surgery. He only pitched part of 2010 and had his innings capped in 2011. Now, hopefully, all of Zimmermann’s health struggles are behind him and he will continue to pitch the Nationals to victory for the years to come.
(*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com*)
Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer Bernie Olshansky. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Bernie on Twitter. Follow @BernieOlshansky
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Posted on January 23, 2013, in MLB Player Profiles and tagged 2012 NLDS, @bernieolshansky on twitter, baseball, bernard-olshansky, bernie olshansky, bryce harper, cy young, david price, edwin jackson, gio gonzalez, jordan zimmermann, matt cain, Mike Rizzo, mlb, national league, NL east, nlds, pitching, ross detwiler, st louis cardinals, stephen strasburg, strasburg, washington nationals. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.