In 20 days, all the Nationals diehards will be preparing to head to Nationals Park on Opening Day. Until then, we're going to predict the 25 man roster. With one catch. We're going to do it one day at a time. This way, we can provide more in depth thoughts on who we think is going to make the roster, why we think so, and what to expect from them in 2011. On the morning of Opening Day, we'll post the real 25-man compared with what we predicted.
Next up on our list is a quality "cold weather kid" once crowned as "future ace", now labeled "future #2", Jordan Zimmermann.
Why?: Now 19 months removed from Tommy John surgery, Zimmermann should be settling in to his pre-surgery abilities. Considering the fact that he was able to return to MLB action in a little over a year, Zimmermann is more than ready to be a part of a Big League rotation.
When on, the Wisconsin-native has the ability to be one of the leagues premier strikeout pitchers, racking up an 8.75 K/9 in his Major League career. In addition to possessing strikeout stuff, Zimmermann has a very heavy sinker that will keep the ball on the ground. This is the year for Zimmermann to show the team that he is ready to step in to his slotted position as #2 starter, eventually behind Strasburg.
What should you expect?: We can expect that this is the year where he finally makes the leap. Its time for him to show the league what Rizzo saw when he went up to Wisconsin-Whitewater to watch a kid no one had ever heard of. Having an innings limit, he will only pitch about 150-160 innings this year, good for about 20-25 starts.
Depending on the type of run support he gets, I expect that Zimmermann will win 10 games this year. Aside from the strikeout potential, his high Ground Ball Percentage (45.0% on the career) should give our infield defense the chance to shine. These factors, as well as his future positioning make Jordan Zimmermann a near lock on our list of 25 players in 25 days.