13 Things We’re Excited About for 2013: #9
In the lead up to Opening Day at Nationals Park on April 1, we’re counting down 13 things we’re excited about on and off the field heading into the 2013 season. Be sure to check back each day as we add another item to the list and get one day closer to the return of baseball to Washington!
#9: A Full Season of the Face of the Franchise
As well as last season played out overall for the Nationals, it was hardly devoid of setbacks. Most of the everyday position players suffered injury issues at one point or another, with Ian Desmond, Michael Morse, Wilson Ramos, Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman all requiring disabled list stints. Each of those five were productive when they were healthy, though perhaps none more than Zimmerman.
Over his final 90 games, Zimmerman posted a slash line of .321/.383/.504 with 26 doubles, 22 home runs and 73 RBI. To put that in perspective, had he hit at his “healthy” rate for the 145 games in which he played, he would have finished the season with 42 doubles, 35 home runs and 118 RBI, even missing 17 games on the season. Those totals would have ranked tied for fifth, third, and first in the National League, respectively, and Zimmerman would have finished third in the NL batting race. Simply put, he played like an MVP from June 24 on, then went on to lead the team in hits, extra-base hits and RBI in the postseason.
As Spring Training comes to a close, Zimmerman’s throwing shoulder – repaired via offseason surgery – appears to be at full strength, and he enters Sunday’s game batting .351 in the Grapefruit League. It appears he will hit fourth in the Washington lineup, sandwiched comfortably between Rookie of the Year Bryce Harper and Silver Slugger Adam LaRoche. With the promise of a full season ahead of him, the Face of the Franchise – smack in the prime of his career at age 28 – may just be primed for his best season yet in a Nationals uniform.