Jordan Zimmermann has gone from small town kid to a big league starting pitcher in the Nation's capital.
Zimmermann was born and raised in Central Wisconsin's Auburndale, where he also attended the local high school.
He then attended a small Division III college 30 miles east of his hometown in the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where he played baseball for three years.
Zimmermann, (two "n's" and not to be confused with third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, one "n"), was selected in the second round of the 2007 MLB Draft by the Washington Nationals, and his path to the big leagues began.
The thing about pitching at UWSP though, is that no scholarships are given at the D-III level and it's difficult to pick out the good from the superb.
Zimmermann was the latter, and once again proves the fact that if you can play ball, it doesn't matter where you're from, someone will find you.
Here are Zimmermann's stats while wearing the UWSP Pointer purple and gold.
Freshman Year - 2005:
5-2, 4.42 ERA, eight starts, 1 CG, 53 IP, 65 hits, 26 ER, 17 BB, 43 K, .297 opp, avg.
Sophomore Year - 2006:
5-5, 2.28 ERA, 11 starts, 8 CG, 87 IP, 52 hits, 22 ER, 20 BB, 103 K, .172 opp. avg.
.355 avg, 7 HR, 22 RBI, 7 K, 12 BB
Junior Year - 2007:
10-0, 2.08 ERA, nine starts, 3 CG, 2 shutouts, 78 IP, 49 hits, 18 ER, 18 BB, 90 K, .185 opp. avg.
.385 avg (led team), 7 HR, 23 RBI, 10 BB, 26 K
Fitting into the National League won't be a problem seeing as how Zimmermann knows how to handle the bat, as he was also a designated hitter at UWSP.
Now let's look at his minor league stats, (note that he never played higher than AA).
2007 - Vermont (Low-A):
5-2, 2.38 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 13 G, 11 GS, 53 IP, 45 hits, 14 ER, 2 HR, 18 BB, 71 K, 12.1 K/9, 3.94 K/BB ratio
2008 - Potomac (High-A) and Harrisburg (AA):
10-3, 2.89 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 25 G, 24 GS, 1 CG, 1 SV, 134 IP, 104 hits, 43 ER, 10 HR, 47 BB, 134 K, 9.0 K/9, 2.9 K/BB ratio
Overall, he has a 35-12 record, never playing AAA, and only appearing in 20 games at the AA level.
Zimmermann was always planned to be the No. 5 starter for Washington, but started 2009 in AAA because he wouldn't be needed until April 20th.
He has made two starts so far this year, and has two wins, becoming the first Expos/Nationals player two win his first two starts since Randy Johnson in 1988. Turns out, Johnson had a pretty good MLB career too.
Zimmermann has also become just the sixth active player in the MLB to be born in the state of Wisconsin (Jason Jaramillo, Eric Hinske, Jack Taschner, Jarrod Washburn, Kris Benson).
I actually attended UWSP at the same time Zimmermann did, but our paths never crossed, and I only saw him pitch once there.
Once a Pointer, always a Pointer though, and I will be on 'Zimmermann watch' every fifth day just like the rest of them.
Not too many come from where Zimmermann did and accomplish the things he has, but the ones that do, leave a lasting impression.
Just ask Mark Tauscher (Auburndale) and Terry Porter (UWSP).
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