Is there any Washington Nationals fan out there who wasn’t a little bit emotional about seeing Ryan Zimmerman beat out the rest of the field and earn his second career All-Star nod last night?
The final vote, as MASN’s Mark Zuckerman noted on Twitter after the announcement, ended up being really close.
Zimmerman received 2,103,142 votes, finishing just 42,064 votes ahead of Chicago Cubs’ first baseman Anthony Rizzo (2,061,078).
Through 75 games, Zimmerman has a .335/.377/.619 line with 22 doubles and 19 home runs in 302 plate appearances, over which he’s been worth 2.0 fWAR, coming of a 2016 season which saw him put up a .218/.272/.370 line with 18 doubles and 15 home runs in 115 games and 467 PAs.
The difference? Zimmerman told ESPN’s Karl Ravech the same thing he’s been telling reporters all season. He’s finally healthy after a couple seasons of dealing with injury issues and struggling to stay on the field.
“The last two and a half, three years, it’s been tough with some injuries, and honestly just not playing to the capability that I knew I could play to,” Zimmerman said.
“So, to have a healthy season, be able to go out there every day and contribute, help this team win, it’s been a fun first half for me.”
A strong first-half is nice, of course, but the big picture, Ravech noted, is going deep in the postseason. Does Zimmerman think this is the year?
“Yeah, I think unfortunately we’ve made it [to the postseason] three out of the past five years, but haven’t gotten past the first round or gotten to that ultimate goal of winning the World Series,” Zimmerman said, “but I think we’ve learned a lot from bowing out in the first round and we have a great offense if we can stay healthy, and the five guys that we run out there on a daily basis to pitch, which you know and I know pitching is key, especially in the postseason.
“If we can stay healthy and grind it out in the second half, I think this year is as good a chance as any to go deep in the playoffs.”
Fans in the nation’s capital weren’t the only ones excited about Zimmerman earning the second All-Star selection of his career, and the first since 2009, when he posted a .288/.354/.473 line with 22 doubles and 14 home runs in 85 games and 387 PAs.
The entire organization is excited for Zimmerman, as GM Mike Rizzo told ESPN’s Buster Olney on Olney’s podcast, which was posted this morning.
“It makes us all feel good,” Rizzo said. “The numbers speak for themselves, his career speaks for itself, but I think the class that he showed in the couple years that he was struggling, with injuries and performance and that type of thing, he never changed.
“From his All-Star years to the last couple years, to this year, he’s been the same professional guy, when you talk about ‘face of the franchise,’ this guy is the epitome of class and professionalism.”
Zimmerman got a night off last night, though he came on to hit and play first late in the win over the St. Louis Cardinals. He’s back at first tonight.
HERE’S THE NATIONALS’ LINEUP FOR THE OPENER WITH THE METS:
#Nats vs #Mets at 6:05: Goodwin LF, Taylor CF, Harper RF, Zimmerman 1B, Rendon 3B, Wieters C, Difo 2B, Sanchez SS, Strasburg RHP— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) July 3, 2017