Jan 29, 2014, 6:00 AM EST
Age on Opening Day 2014: 27
How acquired: 2nd round pick, 2007 draft
2014 salary: $7.5 million
2013 Stats: 32 GS, 213.1 IP, 192 H, 81 R, 77 ER, 19 HR, 40 BB, 161 K, 1.088 WHIP, 19-9, 3.25 ERA, 3.51 FIP, 2.4 WAR
2014 storyline: By now, Zimmermann has established what he is: A consistent, big-time performer who can be counted on to give the Nationals a chance to win nearly every time he takes the mound. There will be some added emphasis on this season, though, because the right-hander has an opportunity to catapult himself into a small class of elite major-league starters and thus set himself up for a monstrous payday (either via a long-term extension with the Nationals or as a free agent following the 2015 season).
Best-case scenario: Building off his first career All-Star showing last season, Zimmermann takes thing up another notch. He not only leads the league with 20-plus wins and a 2.25 ERA, he also tops all NL starters with 235 innings pitched. He’s selected as the NL’s starting pitcher for the All-Star Game in Minnesota, then adds some major hardware to his mantel with his first Cy Young Award come November. Along the way, he agrees to a 7-year, $150 million extension with the Nationals.
Worst-case scenario: Even if he’s sub-par, Zimmermann should at the very least remain an above-average, major-league starter. He could be victimized by poor run support, resulting in an 8-12 record despite a respectable, 3.75 ERA. And he still takes the ball every fifth day, aside from a short DL stint due to a nagging injury.
Most-likely scenario: It’s pretty easy to speculate what Zimmermann will be this season: The same guy he’s been the last three seasons. Assuming even moderate run support, he’s good for 15-to-18 wins, an ERA right around the 3.00 mark, 32 starts and 200 innings. Whether he agrees to that contract extension with the Nats yet … well, that’s still too tough to figure out.
PITCHERS AND CATCHERS REPORT IN
ON THE RADIO
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
Follow us on Twitter
- PHOTOS: Harper hangs with Jordan, Jeter, Manning, RG3 & others
- Braves' Freeman: 'I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people'
- 2015 outlook: Miami Marlins
- Washington Nationals 2015 roster preview: Nate McLouth
- 2015 MLB roster outlook: Los Angeles Dodgers
- Washington Nationals 2015 roster preview: Kevin Frandsen
- Watch Werth arrive at jail in Fairfax to begin sentence
- Braves trade Hale, sign former Nats catcher
- 2015 MLB roster outlook: Los Angeles Angels
- Nationals roster preview: Jose Lobaton