It must have been hard for Jordan Zimmerman to have any optimism after his senior season at University of Wisconsin at Steven's-Point. He had just been plain unlucky. The kind of bad luck you'd only expect for a guy like Zach Grienke.
The first round talent prospect took a line drive off his jaw while pitching batting practice in the offseason which made it hard for him to prepare for the year. That, combined with awful Wisconsin weather (if you've been there you'd understand) all combined to attribute to his slow start his senior year. Oh yeah, and he missed time after getting his wisdom teeth pulled.
This string of unluckiness resulted in him falling to the second round where the Nationals picked him up with the 67th overall pick.
Today bad luck is nowhere to be found anywhere near Jordan Zimmerman. Since starting professional ball he has been nothing but good, very good. In his debut in Vermont he shined going 5-2 in 11 starts with 71 strikeouts in only 53 innings. He posted an ERA of 2.38 and only allowed 18 walks. The next year Zimmerman started the season in high A ball Potomac and once again dazzled. In 5 appearances he posted a 1.65 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 27.1 innings. After a quick promotion he continued to produce in Harrisburg. In 20 starts he posted a 3.21 ERA with 103 strikeouts in 106 innings pitched.
Zimmerman has progressed extremely well through the system in the last two years. This progression and his performance in 2008 has launched him atop the Nationals prospect lists across the board. This progression has surprised and impressed scouts as many figured he would need more time than most college pitchers coming form poor college competition at UWSP.
Despite his performance and quick rise up the charts there are still doubts about his talent. Scouts point out that while he has been able to get hitters out in the minors none of his stuff is considered dominant. 'All of his pitches are good but he lacks that one knockout offering to project as an upper tier-talent,' says Baseball Prospectus.
While the naysayers will...well naysay... the only people JZimm will have to answer to are the batters he faces. He will be given the opportunity to compete for a starting job in the spring, and if he doesn't earn it the Nationals will be keeping the rotation spot warm for him until he is ready. He will have the opportunity to prove he has what it takes...and I know Nats fans are waiting to see what he will do.