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A Look At Jordan Zimmermann

Nationals top prospect Jordan Zimmermann is having a flawless spring, and if he's decent over the next three weeks he'll probably begin the year in the big league rotation.  In mixed leagues, he's being drafted very late if at all.  It'd be an aggressive promotion since he hasn't pitched at Triple A, though Zimmermann did pitch in college.

Baseball America says Zimmermann projects as a solid #2 starter with four average or above-average pitches.  What do the numbers say?

ZiPS calls for a 4.81 ERA and 1.47 WHIP.  CHONE sees a 5.05 ERA and 1.55 WHIP.  And PECOTA says to expect a 4.54 ERA and 1.43 WHIP.  Clearly the projection systems don't think he's ready.  However, they're only working with about 100 innings of high minors data.

PECOTA is fairly optimistic in its 75th percentile forecast: a 4.07 ERA and 1.35 WHIP.  They expect solid strikeout and walk rates as a rookie.  Their best comparable for Zimmermann is Bobby Jones circa 1993.  Assuming they're referring to the one who debuted with the Mets that year, that's encouraging.  Jones did have Triple A experience in '93, but he hit the ground running as a rookie (3.65 ERA/1.35 WHIP) and was solid as a sophomore (3.15 ERA/1.33 WHIP).

If you look at Zimmermann from a purely statistical perspective, you wouldn't draft him this year in a mixed league.  But the risk is so low that I think he's worth a late pick.  His path to the Majors is clear, he's having a great spring, and the scouting reports are positive.

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