Ryan Zimmerman, a man who appears on his way to being a lifelong Washington National, will have a monumental 2013 season. That is, if his health issues can be a part of his past.
2012 was a story of two seasons for Zimmerman, as he struggled through shoulder pain in the first half of the year. He was on the DL from April 21 until May 6, before receiving a cortisone injection on June 24 for the pain.
In the 55 games he played before the injection, Zimmerman hit a pathetic .218 with only three home runs. In 25 games after the cortisone, Zimmerman smashed 11 home runs, 28 RBI and a hit for a cool .392 average.
Zimmerman continued his tear in the second half of the season, hitting .319 with 17 home runs, 55 RBI and raising his OPS from .694 to .945.
So what should we expect this season from Zimmerman after having offseason shoulder surgery?
If spring training tells us anything about Zimmerman thus far, it's that he appears to be healthy: 6-for-12 with a double and a home run, to be precise.
In the five seasons that Zimmerman has played in at least 142 games, he has averaged 25 home runs, 97 RBI and 39 doubles. These numbers will not only be met, but surpassed as Zimmerman now finds himself on the best team he has ever been a part of in D.C.
The Nationals' projected lineup, as reported by James Wagner of the The Washington Post, has Denard Span leading off, Jayson Werth batting second, Bryce Harper hitting third, Zimmerman cleaning up and Adam LaRoche protecting Zimmerman.
The top of the lineup will provide Zimmerman with ample opportunities to drive in 110, maybe even 120 runs in 2013. The protection from LaRoche, who hit 33 home runs and drove in 100 RBI in 2012, will allow for Zimmerman to see even more pitches to hit. This is why I expect him to at least match his career high of 33 home runs this season.
Zimmerman has a career .287 average, including seasons in which he struggled through injuries. A healthy Zimmerman can approach .300 once again and potentially surpass it, as he last did in 2010.
This season will be a dominating campaign by Zimmerman with 35 home runs, 120 RBI and a .300 average. These numbers will go a long way as the Nats have their eyes set on the World Series in October.