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“That’s Amore!” The Renaissance of Ryan Zimmerman

After the Montreal Expos moved to Washington D.C. and became the Nationals, they selected Ryan Zimmerman with the fourth overall pick in the 2005 draft. Zimmerman wasted no time becoming a household name during his first full season in 2006. From 2006 to 2013 Zimmerman averaging 22 home runs, 83 RBI, and an average of .282. All of this came by the age of 28. Looking at the numbers, one would conclude that these are the numbers of one of the more consistent players in Major League Baseball. Following the 2013 season, Zimmerman has averaged .249/12/52. Why the complete 180? Numerous shoulder injuries effected Zimmerman’s success, and this can be seen from the drastic drop from 2013 to 2014-2016.

Through the first four weeks of the 2017 season Zimmerman has slashed .420/.458/.886 with 11 HR and 29 RBI. He’s been arguably the best waiver wire pickup. These numbers are eye-popping for a player that was drafted in less than 10% of fantasy leagues. This week, I want to focus on the rejuvenation of Ryan Zimmerman in “That’s Amore!” The Renaissance of Ryan Zimmerman.

If you’ve played baseball, and suffered an injury, you know that it’s nearly impossible to have success whether it be throwing, hitting, or running the bases. While rehabbing from Tommy John Surgery, I picked the surgeon’s brain and learned that shoulder injuries are some of the most devastating that can occur for a baseball player. There’s no rehabilitation that parallels the time frame of Tommy John Surgery. The shoulder can lock, at any given moment, and it’s a crap shoot to when it will loosen. We’ve seen it end the once-dominant careers of Brandon Webb, Johan Santana, and Mark Prior. These were pitchers, but what can be the side effects on a hitter? Zimmerman’s shoulder injury occurred to his right arm. Not only is he a right-handed thrower, but he’s a right-handed hitter. The Nationals knew this could effect him long-term, and eventually moved him to the outfield and then first base. If there is any issue in a hitter’s back arm (in this case right arm), more than likely they will drop their back side, causing a hitch, and hit beneath pitches.

During the span from 2006 to 2013 Zimmerman had a GB/FB of 1.23. From 2014-2016 Zimmerman saw a slight increase in his GB/FB to 1.33. Looking at the numbers, there wasn’t that much of a difference during the three-year span where his production went downhill. Initially, I started looking at his Soft%, Med%, and Hard%. Again, there were no major differences in batted ball categories in terms of Soft%, Med%, and Hard%. Looking deeper, a number that stood out was Zimmerman’s K%. During the span of 2014-2016 Zimmerman’s K% was 17.4%. During the dismal years of 2014-2016 Zimmerman saw this number increase to 19.3%. Now, this number doesn’t seem that great of an increase, but 2015 and 2016 saw Zimmerman post back-to-back season’s with a K% 20%. This was the first time he posted consecutive seasons with a K% over 20%. This can have a direct correlation, but to paint a better picture Zimmerman saw an increase in his O-Swing% (i.e. swings at pitches outside the zone). Zimmerman averaged an O-Swing% of 25.9% from 2006-2013. During 2014-2016 this number increase to nearly 30%. He averaged 90 games from 2014-2016, and was on pace to set career-highs in strikeouts, K%, and O-Swing%.

After a dismal three-year stretch, Zimmerman had to make slight adjustments to his hitting mechanics. For the first time since 2013, Zimmerman entered Spring Training healthy, and this has made a major impact on his hot start to the 2017 season. While his adjustments were not to the extent of Jason Heyward’s, he’s staying on top of pitches, and driving the ball better than he has in many years. Through the first four weeks, Zimmerman has seen his %OWN jump to nearly 91%. What is to expect the rest of the way? Naturally, pitchers will be adjusting as the season progresses. Thus far, Zimmerman has done most of his damage during 1-0, 1-1, and 1-2 counts. I believe it’s realistic for Zimmerman to reach 30 HR and 100 RBI. He has 11 HR and 29 RBI through the first month. In terms of average, I don’t see it sticking the high-.300s. I see him either ending in the .290 or low-.300s. Either way, as long as he stays healthy, the production should last.

What do we do with Zimmerman? I was one of the many owners affected by the suspension of Starling Marte. However, I was quick to scoop Zimmerman off the waiver wire. That being said, I needed another outfielder to accompany Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna. I was able to move Zimmerman to an owner who had a surplus of outfielders. Zimmerman has been one of the best sell-high candidates through the first month of the season. If your looking to fill a void, then I’d suggest moving Zimmerman now while his stock is as high as it’ll ever be.

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Major League Fantasy Football 2017 League Openings

(Click the RED link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join guest host Andrea Lamont, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday April 30th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #85 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We will be previewing the coming week’s key matchups and discussing key fantasy information.

Our guest this week is Joe Iannone. Joe is a writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com, a 5 year veteran in MLFB leagues, and a really handsome guy. His articles publish every Sunday. He helps “Pick Your Spots” for the coming week.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”

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(Click the RED link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday May 7th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #86 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We will be previewing the coming week’s key matchups and discussing key fantasy information.

Our guest this week is Bryan Luhrs. Bryan is a writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com, and the owner of Real Deal Dynasty Sports.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”

I'm a former collegiate and semi-pro baseball player. Chicago sports are the love of my life [Cubs, Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls] as well as European football. I promise Cubs fans that if Theo can't bring a World Series, I will knock down all doors until I work my way up to GM and bring home a World Series to the Northside of Chicago!

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