Washington Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann has been the best pitcher on the team, in the division, in the National League and arguably in MLB. At the very least, Zimmermann should be awarded the NL Cy Young Award at season’s end.
All season long, Zimmermann has been dominating opposing batters, and his start on Friday night was no exception. Zimmermann pitched an incredible two-hit complete-game shutout as the Nationals routed the Miami Marlins 7-0. Zimmermann struck out nine while walking just one and had a no-hitter through 5.2 innings. It was his third complete game of the season, and first career shutout.
On the season, Zimmermann is now 19-8 with a 3.18 ERA, 159 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.10. He is 4-for-4 in the month of September, and is 6-2 in his last eight starts. The best thing about Zimmermann is that he doesn’t need a lot of run support in order to get the job done. Five of his 19 wins this season came when the Nationals scored three runs or fewer in the game. He works fast, he works effectively and his stuff has just been nasty this season.
There is absolutely no reason why Zimmermann shouldn’t be awarded the National League Cy Young Award at the end of the year.
According to ESPN’s “Cy Young Predictor,” Zimmermann has the fifth-best chance to win the award given to the NL’s best pitcher. He is currently behind Atlanta Braves‘ Craig Kimbrel, Los Angeles Dodgers‘ Clayton Kershaw, St. Louis Cardinals Adam Wainwright and Los Angeles Dodgers‘ Zack Greinke in that order.
Statistically, Zimmermann deserves to be fifth spot. He doesn’t lead the NL in strikeouts, earned run average or WHIP. Thankfully, the computers don’t decide who should win the award. It is voted on by a panel consisting of members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Aside from the month of July when he went 1-3 with a 7.18 ERA, Zimmermann has pitched an outstanding season. In the first three months of the inning, he held an ERA under three, and the Nationals won at least four games each month behind him, including May when they went 5-for-5 with the righty on the mound. While the rest of the team struggled, Zimmermann stayed strong on the mound and kept them going.
If you look at where he’s come from, it makes it even more impressive and is a tribute to the Nationals’ medical staff. Just a few years ago, Zimmermann underwent Tommy John Surgery and was placed on an innings limit. Now, he’s one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball. He has proven, more so than Stephen Strasburg, that the once career-ending procedure is just a mere bump in the road.
There are many good pitchers in the National League this season, but Zimmermann has been great on the mound night in and night out. When the voters go to cast their ballots, he deserves to win the National League Cy Young Award.