Happy 4th of July. Here's a look at two young starters facing off in DC today. Casey Coleman is filling in for Ryan Dempster and he's got his work cut out for him today.
The Nats' Jordan Zimmermann is an interesting pitcher. He has power stuff with finesse results. The real story his he's a first class strike thrower, a Wisconsin kid who, at age 25, is now pitching in phase two of career, post-Tommy John surgery.
If you go back just about two full years, you'll find Zimmermann's final pre-surgery start for the Nationals was against the Cubs. That was an eight strike out, one walk loss for the rookie Zimmermann. A few days later Zimmermann felt soreness during a side session. He didn't pitch again until late 2010, which was a fast comeback from the injury.
Zimmermann has had 16 starts in 2011, most of them good ones. He can be counted on--or so it seems--to get you into the seventh inning no more than 100 pitches, give or take a couple.
A couple starts stick out, especially in light of the "finesse" remark. These starts stick out in a good way and may be less oddballs than semi-regular events as Zimmermann develops.
In 14 starts Zimmermann has struck out six or fewer opponents. Of those 14, there was actually just a single 5 and 6, so it's a full dozen with four or fewer strikeouts. The oddballs mentioned above had 10 and 11 strike outs (one in May, one in June).
In short, you could get a strike zone filling Zimmermann that doesn't walk or strike out many batters. That kind of game would feature his defense. Alternatively, on a good day he'll mow down nearly half the guys he faces. All things being equal, a double-digit ground ball game is far more likely than a double-digit strike out game.
What hasn't changed from start-to-start is his control--he just fills the zone whether you can hit it or not. Zimmermann hasn't walked more than two hitters since his first start, so just pencil him in for a single free pass and leave some wiggle room on your scorecard.
"+" style (100=average, 10 pts=10% of league average, higher is more but not always better)
Scouting style (50=average, 10 pts=1 SD, higher is better not not always more)