Washington Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman-the Diamond in the Rough

Marla GoldbergCorrespondent IFebruary 27, 2008

On the surface the Washington Nationals may seem like the team with all the problems.

Their two best starters haven't been healthy in a year. Their first baseman hasn't played since 2006 because of a broken femur. Their new catcher was named in the Mitchell Report. One outfielder recorded a highly controversial rap song and the other outfielder is convicted of a number of criminal charges. 

Plus, the Nationals are struggling to open their new stadium on time.

Woo! They sound like a mess right?


Among the little inconveniences like a torn shoulder and a few misdemeanors they hold one of the league's most talented, underrated, and uncontroversial third baseman.

The kid's name is Ryan Wallace Zimmerman.

Zimmerman (Zim for short) grew up in Virginia Beach, VA and is only 23 years old. Zim, who was the Nationals first draft pick ever in 2005, made it to the majors only months after he was drafted fourth overall.

During his Rookie season he set the record for rookie RBI with 120.

In 2007 he became the first National to play in all 162 games and never let the crowd down with his amazing theatrics at third to rob player after player of a great hit.

Besides his obvious talent at third, he also has a knack for hitting game-winning hits and home runs on holidays.

Zimmerman had a fourth inning solo shot off Josh Towers on Father's Day, June 17, and snapped a 2-2 tie in an eventual 4-2 win at Toronto.

On July 4, 2006, Zim also hit a homerun in the ninth inning after the Nats were down to win the most notorious Nationals game against the hated New York Yankees. 

Not wanting to end his streak there, in 2007, after a three-hour rain delay, Zim crushed a grand slam to win a game in extra innings at 1:42 a.m. on Mother's Day against the Florida Marlins. 

Speaking of mothers, Zimmerman created the ziMS Foundations supporting the research of Multiple Sclerosis. His mother was diagnosed with the disease in 1995. 

Ryan isn't only an asset on the field; he's the glue that holds this disheveled team together.

He's the face of the franchise, and I think he will soon be the face of MLB. So if you happen to be flipping the channels on a lonely Friday night and see the Nats on TV, or you're visiting the Nation's Capital, look out for this kid because I know he'll be a superstar.