Search

Ryan Zimmerman

March 31, 2008
March 31, 2008

Table of Contents
March 31, 2008

SI Bonus Section: Golf Plus
2008 NCAA TOURNAMENT
2008 Baseball Preview
Departments

Ryan Zimmerman

NATIONALS THIRD BASEMAN

This is an article from the March 31, 2008 issue

HE REACHED the big leagues only 86 days after the Nationals took him fourth out of the University of Virginia, and he hit .397 in 20 games in 2005. The following spring Zimmerman won a starting job as a 21-year-old, then joined Mike Piazza and Albert Pujols as the only NL rookies since '54 to drive in more than 100 runs. But last season he took a step back, suffering drops in batting average and RBIs. "The second year, [pitchers] know your strengths and weaknesses, and they attack your weaknesses," says Zimmerman. One AL general manager isn't concerned, noting Zimmerman's all-around skills. "He spent almost no time in the minors, so everything he's learning and doing has been at the highest level," the G.M. says. "He's also a tremendous defensive player, a top-two third baseman who could probably play shortstop. He's got the actions and quickness." Nationals G.M. Jim Bowden takes it a step further: "He could've been Cal Ripken at shortstop."

PHOTOPhotograph by WALTER IOOSS JR.PHOTORAFAEL SUANES/WIREIMAGE.COM