Washington Nationals' third baseman Ryan Zimmerman finished fifth on the "MLB Network's Top 10 Right Now: Third Basemen" after the 2011 season. The then-26-year-old infielder was coming off a .289/.355/.443, 21 double, 12 HR, +2.5 fWAR campaign in which he played just 101 games and made 440 plate appearances as he dealt with an abdominal strain. It was a shoulder issue (inflammation in the AC joint) that plagued the Nats' '05 1st Round pick in 2012, but with the help of a series of cortisone shots, the Nationals' hot-corner infielder was able to stay on the field throughout Washington's run at a first division title. When the season was over, Zimmerman had a .282/.346/.478 line with 36 doubles and 25 HRs in 145 games and 641 PAs over which he was worth +4.5 fWAR. That was the fifth-highest fWAR in baseball last season, landing Zimmerman sixth overall in Wins Above Replacement behind Aramis Ramirez (MIL) and Adrian Beltre (TEX) at +6.5, Miguel Cabrera +7.1, Chase Headley +7.5 and David Wright +7.8.
So where will Zimmerman land on this year's list? The Nats' third baseman made the Top 10, we already know that, but you'll have to watch this year's edition of "MLB Network's Top 10 Right Now: Third Basemen" to find out just how high he is on the list. As explained in a press release this morning, the MLB Network uses, "'The Shredder,' which uses statistical analysis to measure performance," to make their list and, "In addition, renowned author Bill James and MLB Network analysts and former infielders Larry Bowa and Bill Ripken give their own lists at these positions."
Where will Zimmerman land on the list this year?
The Top 10 Right Now for third basemen airs at 9:00 pm EST tonight. At 10:00, the MLB Network breaks down the Top 10 Right Now: Shortstops, and for the first time in his career, after getting elected to the All-Star Game for the first time in his career this past summer, Nats' shortstop Ian Desmond has reportedly cracked the Top 10. The 26-year-old infielder, who turned 27 in September, had a breakout campaign with the NL East champs in 2012, posting a .292/.335/.511 line over 130 games and 547 PAs as he too dealt with an injury (oblique) that cost him some time on the DL after the All-Star Break. Desmond still finished the year at +5.4 fWAR. That was good for the second-best fWAR in baseball, behind only the Rays' Ben Zobrist (+5.9). So where will Desmond land in his first year on the MLB Network's Top 10 Right Now: Shortstops list? That program airs at 10:00 pm EST.
What will the Bill James have to say about the Nationals' infielders? I'm sure Larry Bowa (who's helped provide guidance to Desmond in the past) will have Desmond high on his list of shortstops... just how high? We'll find out tonight...