Tag: Ryan Zimmerman

Reggie Jackson - Oakland Athletics

The best the top of the MLB draft has had to offer


As a little warmup for tonight’s MLB Draft coverage, here’s a quick look at the best players to come from the top 10 spots in previous drafts. I’m also noting who is picking in each spot tonight.

No. 1: Alex Rodriguez – 1993 Mariners (2015 Draft: Diamondbacks)

For the first 20 years of the MLB Draft’s existence, No. 1 overall picks were largely disappointing. The first ever in 1965 produced Rick Monday, and he was the best of the bunch until Harold Baines in 1977. It wasn’t until 1987 and Ken Griffey Jr. that a future Hall of Famer was picked first overall. He was followed by Chipper Jones in 1990 and, the best of the lot, Rodriguez in 1993.

No. 2: Reggie Jackson – 1966 Athletics (2015 Draft: Astros)

The first overall pick in the 1966 draft, taken by the Mets, was catcher Steve Chilcott. He was the only No. 1 overall pick not to reach the majors in the first 25 years of the draft (the Yankees’ Brien Taylor (1991) was the second). The A’s followed that pick up with Jackson, the lone Hall of Famer to go second overall. Justin Verlander has a chance to join him someday, as might Kris Bryant and Byron Buxton way down the line.

No. 3: Robin Yount – 1973 Brewers (2015 Draft: Rockies)

This one is a pick’em between a pair of Brewers stars; Paul Molitor was chosen in the very same spot four years after Yount. Both went on to become first-ballot Hall of Famers. The third overall pick has been a great spot for third basemen, but little else. That was Molitor’s primary position before he became a full-time DH, and Matt Williams, Troy Glaus, Evan Longoria and Manny Machado were also drafted here.

No. 4: Dave Winfield – 1973 Padres (2015 Draft: Rangers)

The No. 4 spot is home to two Hall of Famers, Winfield and Barry Larkin, plus a guy in Kevin Brown who finished with comparable numbers to some Hall of Famers. It’s also been home to a ton of disappointments; Ryan Zimmerman is the only impact player to come from this spot in the last 15 years, though the Orioles’ Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman could get there. 2014 first-round Kyle Schwarber is also awfully promising.

No. 5: Buster Posey – 2008 Giants (2015 Draft: Astros)

There aren’t any Hall of Famers here, though Dale Murphy has his backers and Dwight Gooden certainly had the talent. So, I’ll reach a little bit and anoint Posey the best of the bunch, even if that’s still a little premature. Gooden, Mark Teixeira, Murphy, J.D. Drew and Ryan Braun currently rank as the top five players by bWAR.

No. 6: Barry Bonds – 1985 Pirates (2015 Draft: Twins)

This was a no-doubter, even though the No. 6 spot also produced Derek Sanderson Jeter in 1992. The Yankees got more from their pick than the Pirates did, but that’s not really what I’m going by here.

No. 7: Frank Thomas – 1989 White Sox (2015 Draft: Red Sox)

This could eventually become Clayton Kershaw’s spot, but it goes to the first-ballot Hall of Famer for now. Picked ahead of Thomas in the 1989 draft were two guys who failed to make the majors (Jeff Jackson and Paul Coleman), two guys who might as well not have (Roger Salkeld and Donald Harris), a journeyman in Tyler Houston and No. 1 overall selection Ben McDonald.

No. 8: Todd Helton – 1995 Rockies (2015 Draft: White Sox)

This is the weakest spot in the top 10, with little beyond Helton to salvage it. Jay Bell (1984 Twins) rates as the second best No. 8 pick, and Jim Abbott (1988 Angels) is probably the third for now, though Mike Leake (2009 Reds) should eventually overtake him. The big hope here for the future is 2011 selection Francisco Lindor.

No. 9: Kevin Appier – 1987 Royals (2015 Draft: Cubs)

The No. 9 spot is without a single superstar, though the terribly underrated Appier was an excellent pitcher for a lot of bad Royals teams in his career. Barry Zito is the runner up here. Javier Baez might factor into the mix somewhere down the line.

No. 10: Mark McGwire – 1984 Athletics (2015 Draft: Phillies)

Again, there are no Hall of Famers here. McGwire, though, has the numbers, and Robin Ventura is an inner-circle Hall of Very Good guy. Plus, there’s Madison Bumgarner as a future possibility, not to mention two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum. Overall, 41 of 50 No. 10 picks have reached the majors, which is the most of any spot outside of the top three. In comparison, just 29 No. 5 picks and 30 No. 8 picks have reached the majors.

Ryan Zimmerman is Mr. Walk-Off (and the numbers to prove it)

Ryan Zimmerman Nationals

Ryan Zimmerman doesn’t hit a ton of home runs. He has 189 for his career through age 30, which is good for 35th-most among active hitters and is tied for 345th-most all time.

But he sure makes them count. Zimmerman hit a walk-off homer in the 10th inning last night to beat the Yankees and closer Andrew Miller, who hadn’t allowed a run this season.

And then, as has become the Nationals’ tradition, he got a bottle of chocolate syrup squeezed onto his head by Max Scherzer.

It was the 10th walk-off homer of Zimmerman’s career, which ties for him 10th in baseball history (via MLB.com and SI.com):

Jim Thome        13
Babe Ruth        12
Jimmie Foxx      12
Mickey Mantle    12
Stan Musial      12
Frank Robinson   12
David Ortiz      11
Albert Pujols    11
Tony Perez       11
Eight Others     10

There are only nine players in MLB history with more walk-off homers than Zimmerman and all nine of them have at least 379 career homers. He has 189.

Suffice it to say that Zimmerman has earned his “Mr. Walk-Off” nickname.

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

Ryan Zimmerman

Nationals 8, Yankees 6: Down by four after four and a half innings, the Nats chipped back and then won the whole dang thing on a Ryan Zimmerman two-run walkoff homer in the tenth inning. Bryce Harper homered too. It was his 15th, which leads the NL. Washington is now 13-4 in May and are tied for first place in the NL East. So much for all of that April hand-wringing.

Cardinals 10, Mets 2: Not gonna say that this was a laugher, but Cardinals lefty specialist Randy Choate actually had a plate appearance here. Drew a walk! The guy has played for 15 years. This was just his sixth plate appearance ever — his first since 2004 — and the first time he has ever reached base. I wonder if anyone gave him a GPS in order to find first. Randy Grichuk drove in three and every Cardinals starter had a hit except for Matt Holliday.

Diamondbacks 4, Marlins 2: A.J. Pollock hit a pinch-hit, tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth. The righty Pollock hit it off of lefty Mike Dunn. Chip Hale said after the game that Pollock would not have been used as a pinch hitter if the Marlins had a righty up in the pen, ready to bring in to face Pollock:

“We were watching the pen real carefully and there was no righty up at the time,” Hale said. “That was the only way I was going to use him for Peralta. If there had been a righty up I probably wouldn’t have done it.”

After the game, new Marlins manager Dan Jennings said that he had his lefty face Pollock because he “went with the gut feeling.” That gut, at that point in time, had less than two full games’ managerial experience in it.

Twins 8, Pirates 5: A lot of weird things here. Like, in the second, Joe Mauer came up with the bases loaded and poked a single through the left side. Just a weak rolling grounder hit the opposite way. And it cleared the dang bases:

Clint Hurdle’s comments about that play after the game were harsh, but fair:

Oh, and Pedro Alvarez hit a home run into the Allegheny River on the fly. And it landed in a boat. For real:

461 feet.

Angels 3, Blue Jays 2: Hector Santiago has started eight games this year. In six of them, this one included, he has allowed one earned run or fewer. Not too shabby. Especially given how well the Blue Jays have hit left-handers this year.

Brewers 8, Tigers 1: Six runs in the third inning for the Brewers, thanks in part to back-to-back-to-back homers from Ryan Braun, Adam Lind and Aramis Ramirez. Note: you can hit back-to-back-to-back homers, but three guys can’t stand back-to-back-to-back. Physically impossible. Baseball is a funny game.

Orioles 9, Mariners 4: Jimmy Paredes homered and drove in four. Paredes has reached base in 20 straight games. His big game came at a good time too, as last year’s DH, Nelson Cruz, was in town. He homered, but the local fans had no reason to long for him last night.

Red Sox 4, Rangers 3: The otherwise slumping Mike Napoli went 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBI. David Ortiz homered too and Wade Miley pitched well (7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 7K), which hasn’t happened too often lately.

Rays 5, Braves 3: The Rays took advantage of Braves starter Mike Foltzynewicz to the tune of eight hits, a walk and five runs in five innings. He struck out seven, but the stuff I said about him last week still holds. The Rays have won five of seven.

Indians 3, White Sox 1: Trevor Bauer snapped the White Sox’ winning streak by pitching one-run ball into the eighth and striking out seven. He has made three starts against Chicago this year and has owned them completely.

Royals 3, Reds 0: Yordano Ventura, Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis combined for a four-hit shutout. This after the Royals shut out their last opponent, the Yankees, on Sunday. Johnny Cueto took the loss and is now 3-4. He has received a total of two runs of support in those four losses. He’s probably going to be dealt at the deadline. I’m guessing he can’t wait.

Astros 6, Athletics 4: Chris Carter and Colby Rasmus each hit two-run homers. Houston has the best record in the American League and Oakland has lost five of six.

Rockies 6, Phillies 5: Philly’s six-game winning streak is over, as Nick Hundley hit a go-ahead homer in the eighth. The Rockies, despite the win, struck out ten times. That’s the seventh straight game in which they’ve done that. According to the gamer, that’s one shy of the record, currently held by the 2011 San Diego Padres.

Padres 4, Cubs 3: James Shields got a no-decision, but he struck out 11 while allowing two runs in seven innings, outdueling Jason Hammel. Derek Norris hit a two-run double in the eighth to break a tie. Former University of San Diego player Kris Bryant made his return to town and went 1-for4.

Giants 2, Dodgers 0: Six and a third shutout innings for Tim Hudson as the Giants win their fourth in a row. They’re three and a half back in the west. Which is fairly interesting.

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

Evan Gattis

Astros 7, Mariners 6: Make it ten in a row for Houston. Evan Gattis, whose name seems to be leading the Astros’ game stories every day, hit two homers. That’s five homers in six games for him now. As for the Astros, they’re 18-7 and in first place with an astounding seven-game lead. Now, to be sure, it’s early, and to be surer, the AL West has had a history of teams leaping out to big leads only to see them go away over the course of the summer. But this is really somethin’ so far, eh?

Athletics 7, Rangers 1: Sonny Gray walked seven. He also struck out ten. In addition he hit the sportswriter, the public address announcer, the bull mascot twice . . . Stephen Vogt homered twice, driving in four.

Giants 5, Angels 0: The good Tim Lincecum came time-traveling from five or six years ago to grace us all with his presence and provide eight shutout innings. The current Jered Weaver remained, however, allowing five runs on ten hits in five innings. The dude has just fallen off a cliff.

Dodgers 1, Diamondbacks 0: Anderson tossed six shutout innings. So too did Anderson. Neither Brett nor Chase figured in the decision, however, as this one went scoreless for 13 before Yasmani Grandal hit a walkoff homer. The half-inning before Grandal recovered from a wild pitch nicely to throw out a runner trying to score from third. A 13-inning game that ends 1-0 is some serious 1968 noise.

Indians 10, Blue Jays 7: They Jays had a 6-1 lead in the fourth, but unfortunately for them we play nine around these parts. The Indians rallied, featuring a six-run fifth inning. Players said they had a little team meeting in the dugout in the middle of the game and that made a big difference:

“Guys were very forward in being vocal and said what needed to be said,” Kipnis said. “We’re not good enough to play that stupid the way we did in the first couple of innings.”

The worst thing about life is when you find that, very often, people get by with being stupid quite well. They shouldn’t, and they should really be concerned that they are so stupid, but they seem to manage and not care. We’re all Frank Grimes watching Homer Simpson, incredulous that their system works for them and wondering why they don’t have far worse lives than they do, but there they are.

Nationals 1, Mets 0: Losing a 1-0 game feels like a gut-punch. The Mets just lost two in a row. This one thanks to Doug Fister, who pitched shutout ball into the seventh and was backed up by four relievers. The game’s only scoring came on a Ryan Zimmerman RBI single in the first.  The Mets have lost seven of their last ten. The Nats have won five of six. Everyone who wrote “what have we learned?” columns after the first week or two of the season is a moron.

Phillies 6, Marlins 2: Ryan Howard had a triple (!) and an RBI single, helping the Phillies avert the sweep. Before I saw the triple I would’ve guessed “ball kicks off the base of the ball and rolls for a year.” Not quite! Marcel Ozuna took a bad route to it and couldn’t cut it off, and it did kick a bit, but this was a legit, leg-it-out triple to the deepest part of the park. Respect for the big man:

Orioles 4, Rays 2: The “home” team Orioles take two of three from Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg. Adam Jones had four hits, including a tie-breaking single. Afterward he talked about his hitting philosophy:

“I’ve got one simple philosophy … get the heater and try not to miss it,” Jones said.

He’s the Ricky Jay of hitting. He’s going to tell you he’s waiting for your fastball. He’s going to make you throw him your fastball and he’s going to hit your fastball anyway.

Braves 5, Reds 0: Julio Terhran gave up three singles in six shutout innings as the Braves and Reds split. Teheran needed that following three straight starts with too many crooked numbers. Atlanta got to Johnny Cueto. Fredi Gonzalez:

“If you would have told me we’d score five runs against Johnny Cueto, and he would only go six innings, I’m may have stopped and got some Lotto tickets”

People older than, say, 45, say “Lotto tickets.” People younger tend to say “Power Ball” or “Mega Millions.” Older people also say “cash machine” instead of “ATM” a lot. These are the sorts of things I used to make fun of more until it was pointed out to me by someone that I say “Lotto” and “cash machine.” Get off my lawn.

Tigers 6, Royals 4: Anibal Sanchez had a perfect game into the sixth to help give the Tigers the series split. Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer and Alex Avila drove in three. The Royals sold out all four games and had their biggest four-day attendance total since their ballpark’s capacity was reduced in a renovation back in 2009.

Twins 13 White Sox 3: Trevor Plouffe smacked a grand slam and drove in five and Brian Dozier had four hits. The Twins are 13-12. Not bad for a club that was supposed to be one of the worst if not the worst team in the majors this year.

Cardinals 3, Pirates 2: Kolten Wong with a 14th inning walkoff homer to give the Cards the sweep. I said earlier that a 1-0 loss is like a gut punch? An extra inning loss is like a gut punch too. The Cards won all three of the games in extras.

Brewers 5, Cubs 3: The Brewers won consecutive games for the first time all year. After the game, they fired Ron Roenicke. I’m guessing the decision to can him was made a few days before and that the timing of it had to do with getting back to Milwaukee after the road trip and stuff, but it’s still weird. It’s also likely to be of little consequence. This club just doesn’t have the horses. They’re going to be down a horse for a bit too, it seems, as Jean Segura left after he was hit on the helmet by a pitch from Pedro Strop, feeling nauseous.

Padres 8, Rockies 6: Lots of homers here, as the Padres and Rockies played a Coors Field Special in Petco Park somehow. The ball just flies better there during the day. Justin Upton, Derek Norris and Jedd Gyorko went yard. Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon each homered twice. Thirty homers were hit in Petco in the nine-game homestand which just ended. Twenty by the opposition, ten by Padres hitters.

Yankees 8, Red Sox 5: The Yankees sweep the Sox and keep their good thing going. It was the first sweep of the Red Sox for New York since 2006. Unless you count two-game series which, really, never count those for they are an abomination unto God. Jacoby Ellsbury reached base four six times, including a walk and being hit by a pitch once. The Yankees have won 13 of 16.

Ryan Zimmerman dealing with mild plantar fasciitis in his left heel

Ryan Zimmerman

CSN Washington’s Mark Zuckerman reports that Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has been dealing with a mild case of plantar fasciitis in his left heel and may need a day off soon. Zuckerman adds that Zimmerman has been bothered by his left heel over the last four or five days and it felt worse on Thursday.

Zimmerman, following a 1-for-4 performance on Thursday afternoon against the Cardinals, has hit safely in seven out of his last eight games, including three consecutive multi-hit games entering Thursday’s action. Overall, he’s hitting .226/.304/.419 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 69 plate appearances.