In three seasons at UVA, before he was drafted fourth overall by the Washington Nationals in the first round of the 2005 Draft, Ryan Zimmerman hit a total of seven home runs in 704 at bats, six of them in '05, when he was hitting with an aluminum bat.
In 67 games and 250 at bats before he was called up to make his MLB debut in September of his draft year, Zimmerman hit 11 HRs, putting up a combined .336/.377/.564 line with the Savannah Sand Gnats and Harrisburg Senators.
"He has been very impressive by the way he plays the game," former GM Jim Bowden told reporters, including MLB.com's Bill Ladson after Zimmerman was called up.
"Defensively, he makes plays you don't even think a third baseman makes. He moves runners, he is always scoring a run and driving in a run."
Last night, in the Nationals' 4-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in Busch Stadium, Zimmerman hit home runs no.199 and 200 in his eleventh season as a major leaguer, putting Washington up 2-1 with his first and 3-2 with his second before he hit an RBI double that ended up being the game winner in the top of the eighth inning.
Though he reached a milestone in his career with his 200th home run, Zimmerman said it wasn't yet time for nostalgia when he spoke to reporters after the game.
"It's hard to think about things like that when you're still playing," he said, as quoted by MASN's Chris Johnson.
"But it's not too bad for a guy who was supposed to be a defensive specialist. Anytime you do anything in this game, it's humbling. It's a really, really hard game. Anytime you can do anything special like that, it's fun."
The impressive tear the now-30-year-old third-turned-first baseman has been on in recent weeks certainly qualifies as something special.
In the Nationals' three-game series against St. Louis in Busch Stadium, Zimmerman went 7 for 14 with two doubles and four home runs, spreading them around the Cardinals' home, two to straight center, one to left and one to right-center field.
Over his last ten games, Zimmerman is 14 for 39 (.359/.372/.974) with three doubles, seven home runs, nine runs scored and 19 driven in.
Since coming off a 39-game stint on the DL (plantar fasciitis), Zimmerman has a .288/.362/.661 line, with 11 doubles and 11 HRs in 35 games and 138 plate appearances.
MASN's Dan Kolko asked Zimmerman about the run he's been on in a post-game interview after the Nats avoided a sweep by salvaging the series finale in St. Louis.
"I'd rather not talk about it," Zimmerman said. "I think we should just leave it alone, but just got to keep doing the little things every day to get ready and hopefully ride it out for the rest of the year."
He was asked if anything feels any different at the plate when he's locked in like he is now.
"I don't know if it feels any different," Zimmerman explained.
"It's more pitch recognition and not swinging at balls and getting into counts that -- you know, you take that 1-1 pitch for a ball that when you're going bad you swing at and it's 1-2, but now you're taking it and it's 2-1 and you're kind of in the driver's seat now. It's more pitch recognition and laying off balls I usually swing at."
"Just seeing the ball really well and hitting the ball to the big part of the diamond," Matt Williams said, in discussing Zimmerman's impressive stretch after the Nationals' win.
"Tonight was vintage Zim on the last hit, just staying on a ball and getting it in there."
10 Years of #ZIM! Ryan Zimmerman had 3 go-ahead hits last night, including career HRs No. 199 AND 200! #GoYard #BOSS https://t.co/SGLiElM0oC— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 3, 2015
"What was that, four homers in the series?" Williams asked. "Swinging really well. He's a good player and his timing is there, he's feeling good at the plate, seeing it good and hitting it good."
The win last night, which kept the Nationals within 6.5 games of first in the NL East with 30 games to play, six of them against the division-leading New York Mets, was a big one for Washington, after they blew leads in each of the last two nights in St. Louis.
"Every win is important right now," Zimmerman said.
"We've got to try and win every day. Played really well the first two games, unfortunately, we couldn't pull them out, but come back and get this win, hopefully carry some momentum at home and get on a roll."
Zimmerman said he might take a moment to enjoy hitting no.200 last night, but then it was back to business.
"I don't really get caught up in the numbers," he said, "especially while I'm still playing, but that's a cool milestone, I'll enjoy it tonight and hopefully come out tomorrow and hit some more."