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Friday, December 26, 2014

2015 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT BUST: RYAN ZIMMERMAN 1B/3B WASHINGTON NATIONALS

It has been some time since we checked in on another 2015 draft bust to avoid and one of our annual favorites under that heading is Washington Nationals 1B/3B Ryan Zimmerman.  Long a guy I personally avoided at all costs, Zimmerman is headed for a somewhat crossroad season in 2015 due to increasing injury concerns and a switch of position.  With that said let's check in deeper on Zimmerman in order to determine if he should be avoided yet again.

As always when we profile players, it is always advisable to never live in the statistical past of any hitter or pitcher.  When it comes to Zimmerman, that means not jumping right back in and thinking he will automatically supply 25 home runs and 90 RBI like he has done numerous times in his career.  Zimmerman enters into the 2015 season at a still young 30 but anyone who has followed him knows his body is a lot older.  Getting back to the numbers, Zimmerman has hit 25 or more home runs in four of the last six seasons and his .286 career average is very solid.  However we again have to come back to the health as Zimmerman has earned the reputation of being one of the most injury-prone players in all of baseball.  Zimmerman has logged at least one DL stint in each of the last five seasons and 2014 was the worst of all as he logged only 214 at-bats due to perennial shoulder trouble, not to mention some other issues that cropped up.  The result was a grand total of 5 home runs and 38 RBI as the Nationals finally decided to move his bat to first base due to the fact his arm/shoulder could not stand the stress of third base anymore.  The rapid development of Anthony Rendon further accelerated that change.  The shoulder problem still is a big concern that leaves Zimmerman a very risky player to invest in this season on that aspect alone.  When it comes to hitting ability, Zimmerman still knows how to fully handle the bat to remain a guy capable of another 25 HR/90 RBI/.280 season if he can just scratch out enough at-bats which is far from a given.  There is the rub when it comes to projecting Zimmerman.

The last aspect that needs to be discussed here is the fact that all of the injuries have pushed Zimmerman's 2015 draft price way down from where it was just even prior to last season.  This is still a guy who when he is one the field, is one of the best hitting third baseman in the game.  I say third baseman due to the fact Zimmerman will qualify there for at least 2015 and he clearly plays better there due to the massive amount of slugging first baseman.  The fact Zimmerman's draft price has dropped so much makes him intriguing in that front as he could supply some massive value if he again can somehow stay healthy.  The hope is that his move to first base will lessen the wear on the shoulder and keep him on the field.  It all sounds good now but again this is far from a sure thing.  In the end, we would actually suggest for the first time in years investing in Zimmerman if you can get him on the cheap.  Otherwise he stands to be a solid bust candidate again due to the fact he just can't stay on the field.  If he can't stay on the field, he can't help you pick up numbers.  Sometimes it is that simple.

2015 PROJECTION:  .281 21 HR 84 RBI 82 R 2 SB

 
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