2017 fantasy baseball drafts have left Jordan Zimmermann a forgotten man. He is going as the 290th player off the board. He is waiver wire fodder in your average ten team league with 25 roster spots. He’s persona non grata this draft season. While the Nationals Jordan Zimmermann likely isn’t making his way back onto a baseball diamond this year, are we taking the hate much too far?
The story of Jordan Zimmermann’s 2016 campaign was a triumphant man whose body failed him. In Zimmermann’s first five starts, he allowed two earned runs in 33 innings pitched. Detroit’s big free-agent acquisition was making for an amazing one-two punch with Justin Verlander. Then the injuries began to mount. While he had walked too many batters in those first 33 innings, he managed to overcome those obstacles.
When you look at Zimmermann’s 2016 campaign, his injury issues shine through. He was horrible across the board, posting awful strikeout rates, walk rates and home run rates all fell off a cliff. His fastball velocity was down slightly. This sudden, massive drop off in so many categories an injury-plagued season scream flukiness. While Zimmermann isn’t completely recovered from his injuries, Spring Training reports have him mostly pain-free.
To be clear, vintage Nationals Zimmermann isn’t in the cards, but that’s not what you need from a draft pick this late. It’s not outside the realm of realistic possibilities to see Zimmermann back inside the top 35-40 starting pitchers next season. That puts him firmly on a roster in even the shallowest of leagues.
Zimmermann is basically free at his current ADP. His 2016 drop off stems from a series of injuries that stole his season from him. He could still be feeling ill effects from his litany of 2016 issues, but given the price, he’s worth a shot. A bounce back Jordan Zimmermann 2017 likely looks like a 3.50 ERA, 160 strikeouts, and a 1.15 WHIP. That’s well worth the last-round pick he costs, or the first-or-second week waiver pickup. The fantasy baseball community has over-corrected for an injury-riddled 2016 campaign, leaving Zimmermann as a cheap flier option. And if he sucks? Just cut him. You didn’t pay a lot for him, anyway.