When fantasy owners think of a Washington Nationals starting pitchers who underwent Tommy John surgery, I am sure most jump right to Stephen Strasburg. However, Jordan Zimmermann is another survivor of the procedure and has proven over the past two seasons that he can be one of the better options in the league. Just look at the numbers he put up in 2012:
153 Strikeouts (7.04 K/9)
43 Walks (1.98 BB/9)
79.3% Strand Rate
You can argue that the strand rate was on the lucky side, which certainly is fair. However, don’t let that one number deter you too much. In 2011 he posted similar peripherals with a 74.2% strand rate, yielding a 3.18 ERA.
That said, that doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. He did post a 23.2% line drive rate, making the BABIP questionable as well. He actually posted just one month under 20% and two under 22%, so he was consistently hit hard. However, once again 2011 gives us reason for hope. He posted an 18.7% mark in ’11, but if he can’t get back to that number in 2013, his overall numbers are going to rise no questions asked.
Outside of that, what is there not to like? He is one of the elite control artists in the league, with a BB/9 under 2.00 each of the past two years. While he wasn’t that good in the minor leagues (2.80), he has been posting these types of numbers for too long to simply write them off and consider them unrepeatable.
Wile he isn’t an elite strikeout pitcher, the number he’s posted is more than enough, especially given his control. While he did post a 9.42 K/9 in the minor leagues, he likely gave up a little bit here to improve his control. It’s not impossible that he improves (34 K over 34.2 innings in September), but I wouldn’t count on it.
Trow in pitching for the Nationals, which should provide opportunities for wins, and there is a lot to like. He is going to be a great source of WHIP, especially if he can improve his line drive rate. He may never be an ace, but he should be a Top 30 option with the ability to post an ERA between 3.5- and 3.75 and a WHIP around 1.15 (if not better).
What are your thoughts of Zimmermann? Do you think he’s going to be a SP2 or SP3 in ’13? Why or why not?
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