Jayson Stark wrote down his “all underrated” for 2011 on Friday, and while the concept is a little silly, it is nice to get a glimpse of some players who aren’t necessarily getting credit for being great. Not surprisingly for Nats fans, Ryan Zimmerman made the list. Whether or not he gets the recognition he deserves isn’t why I am pointing this out. Rather, I just wanted to share some pretty great things that were said about him in the article.
FanGraphs’ top four players in the major leagues last year in Wins Above Replacement:
Josh Hamilton (8.0), Joey Votto (7.4), Pujols (7.3) and (drumroll, please) Zimmerman (7.2).
So … do we have your attention yet? Thought so. If those WAR rankings are any judge (and clearly, they’re onto something), it means Zimmerman had a better year — if you factor in his bat and his top-of-the-charts third-base acrobatics — than Miguel Cabrera, Jose Bautista, Evan Longoria, Troy Tulowitzki and, well, essentially everybody else.
I have mentioned this before, but it is worth noting again. Keeping in mind that FanGraphs puts a big emphasis on fielding in their WAR calculation, they calculated him to be the 4th best player in 2010. That’s an amazing thing when you think about just how bad the Nats have been.
Perhaps most satisfying for the many fans who along with loving the Nats, hate the NL East competition, with most of their hatred flowing north:
“For me, he’s the best third baseman in the league right now,” one scout said. “He’s so much better than David Wright at this stage; it isn’t even all that close.”
I’m not ready to say he was definitely the best 3B, despite the FanGraphs numbers, because 2010 is one snapshot in time. But would I concede that he and Longoria are probably sitting at 1 and 2? Yeah, I could concede that. But then again, I’m a biased, NL East competitor hating Nats fan.