Tagged: Ryan Zimmerman

The Golden Boy is Silver too

The Silver Slugger award winners were announced on Thursday, and Ryan Zimmerman has another shiny trophy, winning the award for third basemen. CONGRATULATIONS, RYAN!

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The top two contenders for this award among third basemen were Zimmerman and the Giants’ Pablo Sandoval. Here’s a look at their offensive stats:

Player     AB   R   H   2B  3B HR RBI  TB   BB  SO   OBP  SLG  AVG
Zimmerman  610 110 178  37  3  33 106  320  72  119 .364 .525 .292
Sandoval   572 79  189  44  5  25  90  318  52  83  .387 .556 .330

Per slugger.com:

the
Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Awards are the top offensive honor in
Major League Baseball. Coaches and managers of Major League teams vote
for the players they feel are the best offensive producers at each
position in the field in both the American and National Leagues. They
base their selections on a combination of offensive statistics
including batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage,
as well as the coaches’ and managers’ general impressions of a player’s
overall offensive value.

I love Zimm…he and John Lannan are my favorite Nats players. I’m very happy for Ryan and think it’s great that he won this award, along with his Gold Glove award. But unlike the Gold Glove, this award was not exactly a slam dunk for him. Both Zimm and Sandoval had great offensive seasons, but if you look at the stats above, one could make just as strong a case for Sandoval. Zimm scored more runs, and had more home runs, RBI, and total bases, but Sandoval’s on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and batting average were better. In particular, Sandoval’s batting average was 38 points higher than Zimmerman’s. I’m guessing that what tipped the scale in Ryan’s favor was his 30-game hit streak, which I believe was the longest in the majors this season.

Anyway…once again, CONGRATULATIONS TO RYAN ZIMMERMAN, the 2009 Silver Slugger Award winner for third base!

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Photo by me

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More thoughts about Ryan Zimmerman winning the Gold Glove over Kevin Kouzmanoff

I know that Ryan Zimmerman had 17 errors, while Kevin Kouzmanoff had just 3. Yes, 14 errors is a big difference. But there’s more to defensive excellence than just errors and fielding percentage. Basing a fielder’s overall performance on only those two measures is like judging a starting pitcher’s performance on just his W/L record, without looking at his ERA, WHIP, run support, etc.

Below are the basic statistics that are used to compare defensive performance of players — Zimmerman’s and Kouzmanoff’s stats are shown.

Player      TEAM POS  G  GS  INN    TC  PO   A  E  DP   RF   FPCT
Zimmerman   WSH  3B  154 153 1337.2 459 117 325 17 28  2.97 .963
Kouzmanoff  SD   3B  139 134 1186.2 311 94  214  3 24  2.34 .990

As you can clearly see, Zimmerman had more total chances, more put-outs, more assists, more double plays, and a better range factor. Kozmanoff has the edge in errors and fielding percentage. Note: Zimmerman lead the majors with his 459 total chances and 325 assists.

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Photo by me

Another stat that has been mentioned when comparing Zimmerman and Kouzmanoff is UZR — Ultimate Zone Rating. Zimmerman lead NL third baseman with his 18.1 UZR. According to THIS ARTICLE, Zimmerman also lead NL third baseman in range factor and range factor per game.

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Photo by me

I am not a stats geek, in any way, shape or form. I attempted to learn more about UZR by going to FanGraphs.com and reading their UZR Primer (parts 1 and 2), and I came away from it all with a headache. You know how cartoon characters have stars and birds circling their heads when they get hurt? That’s exactly how I felt after trying to figure out UZR.

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Some fans really get into analyzing stats like that, while others just focus on the basics. Managers and coaches, however, should be looking at all defensive statistics for players when deciding for whom they should cast their Gold Glove votes. RawlingsGoldGlove.com states that the award is supposed to be “the benchmark by which all defense is measured” in Major League Baseball. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. However, in the case of this year’s Gold Glove award for NL third basemen, the correct and only logical choice was made. Ryan Zimmerman was, without question, the best third baseman in the National League in 2009. Period.

2009 NL Gold Glove Award winners

DCfireworks.jpgCONGRATULATIONS TO RYAN ZIMMERMAN, who has won what will surely be just the first of many Gold Glove awards in his career!

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Photo by me

Way to go, Ryan…you totally deserve this award. Congratulations!

The 2009 NL Gold Glove Award winners are:

C – Yadier Molina, Cardinals
1B – Adrian Gonzalez, Padres
2B – Orlando Hudson, Dodgers
3B – Ryan Zimmerman, Nats
SS – Jimmy Rollins, Phillies
OF – Michael Bourn, Astros
OF – Matt Kemp, Dodgers
OF – Shane Victorino, Phillies
P – Adam Wainwright, Cardinals

Congratulations to all of the winners!

goldglove.jpgIt’s great to see Zimmerman get the recognition that he deserves, considering the fact that he plays for a team that has lost more that 100 games two years in a row. Zimm did have 17 errors, which was the NL’s third highest total. But many of those errors came early in the season…he worked out his case of the yips, and although he didn’t eliminate all throwing errors, he greatly reduced them for the rest of the season. He made plays that other third basemen couldn’t because they weren’t able to get to as many balls hit in their direction.

Sometimes, the Gold Glove award winners leave me scratching my head, wondering “What the %?$# were the voters thinking?!”. Zimm’s award, however, was very well deserved.

2009 AL Gold Glove Award winners

The 2009 AL Gold Glove Award winners are:

C – Joe Mauer, Twins
1B – Mark Teixeira, Yankees
2B – Placido Polanco, Tigers
3B – Evan Longoria, Rays
SS – Derek Jeter, Yankees
OF – Torii Hunter, Angels
OF – Adam Jones, Orioles
OF – Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
P – Mark Buehrle, White Sox

Congratulations to all of the winners…especially Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira!

goldglove.jpgThe NL winners will be announced tomorrow later today. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.

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Photo by me

He certainly had a Gold Glove-worthy season season, leading all NL third basemen in assists, total chances, total outs recorded and games started. He won the 2009 Fielding Bible Award for third baseman:

Ryan Zimmerman has broken out of the pack in my estimation, however, by becoming the Defensive Runs Saved leader at third base over the last three years. His first Fielding Bible Award is well deserved.

Zimm was also named the first ever ESPN Web Gem Champion, after collecting the most web gems (19) and web gem points (61) from ESPN this season.

Ryan’s biggest competition for the Gold Glove seems to be Kevin Kouzmanoff of the Padres, who set a single-season record for NL third basemen with a .990 fielding percentage and made only three errors. The Padres apparently have campaigned pretty hard for him to win; I’m not sure if the Nationals have done the same for Zimm. Overall stats seem to favor Zimm, though, so I’m hopeful that the NL managers and coaches have gotten it right and have voted for Ryan Zimmerman for NL 3B Gold Glove Award!

Good luck, SuperZimm!

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0-7 at the beginning, 7-0 at the end

The season is over for the Washington Nationals. In many ways, I agree with this Mets fan about the end of the season finally being here.

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Photo Credit: yahoo.com

It’s been a difficult, frustrating, infuriating, and downright painful season, which began with 7 straight losses. For the second year in a row, the Nationals lost over 100 games. They actually won the same number of games in 2009 as in 2008 (59) but lost one more game (103) this year because their final home game of 2008 was rained out and not rescheduled. (Ironically, the Yankees 2009 regular season record was 103-59.) Needless to say, my prediction of a 75-87 record was way off! So many things went wrong for the Nats in 2009…dreadful pitching (mostly by the bullpen but also by some of the starters)…non-existent offense at times…poor defense and too many errors…even a wardrobe malfunction.

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Photo Credit: DC Sports Bog
Losing Jordan Zimmermann (Tommy John surgery) and Nyjer Morgan (broken hand) were tough blows to deal with as well.

But despite the intense suckitude displayed by the Nationals for most of the 2009 season, there were also some good things that happened this year. In no particular order, some of 2009’s highlights include:

  • Bidding adieu to Jim Bowden and Manny Acta. Bowden was a moron; Acta was not. Acta seemed like a very nice guy, but, quite frankly, he sucked as a manager. Granted, he didn’t have a lot to work with, but that doesn’t change the fact that he was horrednous.
  • A 33-42 (.440) record under interim manager Jim Riggleman
  • Josh Willingham’s 2 grand slams in the 7/27 game vs. Milwaukee.
  • Adam Dunn hitting his 300th career home run (I was at that game).
  • Drafting, and then signing, Stephen Strasburg…and not breaking the bank in the process.

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Photo by me

  • Adam Dunn’s surprising improvement at 1B. He’s definitely not gold-glove caliber (and probably never will be), but his defense has improved. And, if nothing else, he’s a big target at first. His defense at first base is certainly better than it was in left field.
  • The acquistion of Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett. Morgan (a/k/a Tony Plush) in particular provided a tremendous spark, and his presence in the lineup as well as in center field was greatly missed after he went on the DL.
  • Justin Maxwell, who provided two of the greatest moments of the season: stealing a home run away from Baltimore Orioles’ Adam Jones with a phenomenal over-the-wall catch at Nationals Park back in May, and his walk-off home run off of Francisco Rodríguez in the final home game of the season to defeat the Mets, and complete the sweep.
  • Jordan Zimmermann’s MLB debut, and first win, in April. I was there…it was a rainy night, and a lot of people left early, so sticking around for the final out and the win was especially fun. (I hope Zimm2 makes a full recovery from Tommy John surgery and comes back stronger than ever.)
  • John Lannan and Craig Stammen beating the Yankees in June. I felt very conflicted about that series at the time, but in retrospect, that series definitely ended up being one of the most memorable series of the season.
  • Not getting swept by the Red Sox. It’s the little things that mean a lot in a 103-loss season.
  • The 8-game winning streak in August.
  • The 7-game winning streak to end the season.
  • The emergence of John Lannan as the leader of the Nationals pitching staff. People believed that he would fall apart because he doesn’t get a lot of strikeouts and just isn’t dominant enough. His first few starts of the season weren’t good, and he hit a rough patch in August, but came back for a strong finish in September.

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Photo by me

  • Ryan Zimmerman — his 30-game hit streak was easily the biggest highlight of the season…despite some throwing issues early in the season, his defense was gold-glove caliber…and signing him to a 5-year deal ensures that the “face of the franchise” will wear a Nationals uniform for a long time.

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Photo by me

And now, even though the postseason is in full swing, I’m feeling a bit of sadness and withdrawal. Despite another 100+ loss season and all of the agony that went along with it, I’m sad that the Nationals’ season is over. Maybe it’s just the residual good feelings from the end-of-the-season 7-game winning
streak…or maybe it’s the fact that I upgraded the seats in my season
ticket plan (I’ll be behind home plate instead of near the right field
corner)…or perhaps a combination of both. I attended the Nats’ final home game — in which Justin Maxwell hit the walk-off home run — and it was such an incredible way to end the home schedule. But it left me wanting more…more improvement, more wins. If only the Nationals could have played like that more often during the course of the season and had more incredible comebacks like that.

I am full of hope for next year. The 7-game winning streak at the end of the season was a very exciting way to end a miserable season. Granted, those 7 wins came against an awful Mets team and a deflated Braves team that had just been knocked out of wild card contention…it’s not like we swept the Phillies and the Dodgers. Nevertheless, I am very hopeful that 2010 will be better. I’m hopeful that the Nats can get the starting pitcher that they need. I’m hopeful that the Nationals can settle their situation at second base. I’m hopeful that Ian Desmond can continue his maturation process and become a bona fide MLB shortstop. I’m hopeful that Drew Storen can make a successful leap from the minors to the majors next season to help ease the Nationals’ bullpen woes. I’m hopeful that Stephen Strasburg makes it to the big leagues — sooner rather than later — and lives up to the hype surrounding him. I am looking forward to seeing what moves the Nationals make during the offseason, including who the manager will be. I know that whatever the Nats do, they’re not going to go from worst to first in one season…but I am hopeful that there will be a significant improvement. I have to be hopeful…hope is what will keep me reasonably sane between now and next February.

Speaking of February…when do pitchers and catchers report??

Today’s games

Yankees 3, Rays 2

Nick Swisher’s 2 home runs helped the Yankees beat the Rays…particularly the second home run, which came at the bottom of the 9th with one out and the score tied at 2.

swish.jpg[sarcasm]Don’t you just love Nick’s calm personality?[/sarcasm]

Derek Jeter was hitless, remaining three hits shy of tying Lou Gehrig’s club record of 2,721 career hits.

Phillies 5, Nationals 3

John Lannan pitched 6 strong innings for the Nats, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits. Unfortunately, his 7th inning wasn’t so good; he gave up 2 home runs in the top of the 7th, which gave the Phillies at 4-2 lead. The inning got off to a great start for the Nats with another brilliant defensive play by Ryan Zimmerman on a ground ball from Ryan Howard. Playing near second base on the shift, Zimm dove to make the catch and threw the ball to Adam Dunn in time to get the out at first. But then Lannan gave up those 2 home runs, and the game went downhill from there for the Nats. Another night, another loss. *sigh*

That Strasburg Dude

I mentioned that the Nationals signed their #1 draft choice, Stephen Strasburg.

Stras_2_washington.jpgWhen the Nats formally introduced Strasburg to the media and fans, they invited fans to attend the press conference on the afternoon of August 21st. I took the afternoon off work so I could attend the press conference at Nationals Park. It was pretty cool!

2richboyz.jpgRain was in the weather forecast for the afternoon, but Mother Nature cooperated by keeping the rain away until the press conference had ended. We got quite a bit of rain between the end of the press conference and the start of that night’s game vs. the Brewers…and on Stephen Strasburg day, there was a rainbow over Nationals Park!

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See more photos from the press conference here.