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Saturday, May 6, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: RYAN ZIMMERMAN 1B WASHINGTON NATIONALS

For the entire 2016 season, Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman had 15 home runs.  Through a month-plus of the 2017 season, Zimmerman already has 12 long balls as he slammed the latest Friday night to continue what has been an insane beginning to the his year.  On top of the extreme power, Zimmerman was hitting a ridiculous .433 after a pathetic .218 the year prior.  Still young enough at 32, Zimmerman is having a season for the ages and it comes when he dropped all the way down to afterthought status in fantasy baseball.  In fact Zimmerman went undrafted in many leagues as his hitting numbers plummeted the last few years.  Zimmerman also was one of the most injury-prone players in the game throughout his career as well and it appeared all the health woes had sapped both his power and overall hitting skills.  Well that doesn't seem to be the case now with Zimmerman who is right there with Eric Thames and Aaron Judge as the biggest fantasy baseball hitting stories of the season.

So the question is what happened here?  How is Zimmerman all of a sudden back to being the 25-30 home run star he was when he was first making hay with the Nats.  And is what Zimmerman is doing now legit?  Well obviously the injury issue takes center stage here as Zimmerman has been an absolute health mess the last five years and when your body doesn't feel good, hitting a 95-mph fastball is not going to be an easy chore.  So we do have to factor Zimmerman's path to irrelevancy prior to this season as clearly being impacted by the injuries.  In fact the last time Zimmerman played what can be considered a full season, it was back in 2013 when he received 633 at-bats.  The result?  How about 26 home runs and a .275 average.  So the power has always been there for Zimmerman and he only had to stay healthy to get it to come to the forefront.  100 percent healthy for now, Zimmerman is hitting for the big power again and so that aspect is not such a huge surprise.

What is a shock though is the average as Zimmerman was mostly a .280 guy even during his big earlier years in Washington and so looking under the advanced hood is needed.  There you will find that Zimmerman has gotten an INSANE amount of luck as his .478 is unfathomable.  In fact I don't ever recall a higher BABIP (average is .300) this high this late in the season in my career covering fantasy baseball and so really everything is falling for Zimmerman this year.  Don't count on that continuing however and so an average dip is on its way real soon.  I am not saying Zimmerman can't hit for a respectable average but even .300 might be a big high considering the career trends.

In the end, you really want to sell high here as we all know the next injury is right around the corner and this type of offensive production is impossible to continue.  While I respect everything Zimmerman is doing, his overall outlook remains murky given the expected regression and health issues.


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