Thursday, September 08, 2005
What Side of the Fence Are you On? Part II
One question answered. Two more questions created. Should he keep starting? At what position? Ryan Zimmerman made his first major league start last night against Dontrelle Willis and the Florida Marlins in a 12-1 debacle of a loss. The most interesting part of the game from a Nats perspective was that Zimmerman made the start at SS. After initially stating that it wouldn't be fair to start Zimmerman at SS, Frank pulled a 180 because, "From day to day, things change." I watched the first six innings and came away impressed. Zimmerman held his own in the field, actually making a couple of really nice plays. While at the plate, he looked OK in his 3AB versus Cy Young contender Willis, driving a double to deep CF, nearly beating out a grounder to 2B, and grounding into a FC. I missed the last 3 innings where Zimmerman made two fielding errors (one where the runner scored, the other allowed a runner to score). From reading through the game recap, I'm a bit confused why Jamey Carroll didn't take over at SS instead of 3B when Vinny Castilla was removed allowing Zimmerman to assume his more natural 3B. But that aside, I'm glad he finally got a chance to start. Now the questions begin. Should he start again today? While I was not a fan of bringing him up this year, now that he's up, absolutely play him 3-4 times per week. Let him get exposure to both tough starters (Josh Beckett today) and the not so tough starters (he should have started against Valdez on Tuesday). Where should he play? Apparently Jose Vidro's time in the field is done this season and the only other options at SS are Cristian Guzman (let's not go there), Jamey Carroll (not a full time player), and Deivi Cruz (which means Jamey Caroll, Carlos Baerga, or Rick Short start at 2B). Initially I was skeptical about playing Zimmerman at SS, but it might not be such a bad idea over the last 3+ weeks. I'd prefer to see him at 3B but if playing SS means he gets meaningful ABs in lieu of sitting on the bench, I'm all for it. One final thought, I heard him interviewed on the Nats pre-game show with Charlie Slowes. He is one of the more well-spoken 20-year olds I have heard in a long time. He seems to get it. He says the right things, "It was fun. I wish I could've done a little better." Maybe some of the comparisons are not too far off.