Appreciating Jordan Zimmermann’s 2011

When Jordan Zimmermann hurt his elbow in 2009 and had to have Tommy John Surgery, it kind of sucked. Not so bad as it sucked when Stephen Strasburg went down, not really, but it sucked nonetheless. What we’re seeing now from ZNN (nickname via Nats Baseball), though, makes up for it.

His season is over, but what a season it was, especially by Nats standards. He went 8-11 with a 3.18 ERA and 124 strikeouts in 26 starts, but look at how his advanced stats stack up against the three best starting pitcher seasons in Nats history:

Pitcher (Year): FIP — xFIP — WAR
Jordan Zimmermann (2011): 3.15 — 3.74 — 3.5
John Patterson (2005): 3.46 — 3.98 — 3.9
Estaban Loaiza (2005): 3.33 — 3.69 — 4.6
Livan Hernandez (2010): 3.95 — 4.57 — 3.0

If you’re measuring by FIP (which is fielding-independent ERA, basically), Zimmermann’s 2011 season is the best a Nats pitcher has ever had. If you measure by xFIP (a more advanced version of FIP, I guess), it’s the second-best. And if you measure by WAR (wins above replacement, duh), it’s third-best, but that’s only because he had to shut it down after 26 starts.

Those are impressive numbers, but Zimmermann’s 2011 was even better than that. It was better because it established ZNN as a young, front-end starter just as the team is looking like a young, long-shot contender. It was even better still as it also showed the Nats that a pitcher can return from Tommy John and be even better than before, which, in Strasburg’s case, is kind of wonderful. Zimmermann’s too.

7 thoughts on “Appreciating Jordan Zimmermann’s 2011”

  1. Love you it when you guys start talking nerdy to me.

    FIP: Scale to measure pitchers by things he can control: BB, K, HR, HBP. FIP is calibrated around league ERA so that it makes intuitive sense to people looking at it for the first time.

    xFIP: Same thing but instead of using actual HRs (which vary greatly year to year) in the formula, it replaces it with an eXpected HR total based on a league average HR per fly-ball ratio. Supposed to be a better predictor of things to come.

  2. Man I loved that half season Patterson had his best stuff. He was electric. Biesbol is a crazy game that a dude like that can just lose it.

    And Ms DC, er Mrs Patterson, was a stunner. I remember she threw out a first pitch and MASN showed it about 8 times during the broadcast

  3. Just looked up the ’05 Nats page on baseball-reference and it was like a high school reunion. Names you hadn’t thought of in years but still had good memories: Brad Wilkerson, Jose’s Vidro and Guillen, Gary Majewski, Ryan Church, Terrmel Sledge, Joey Eischen…
    Definitely remember more about that team than i do ’08-10 teams.

  4. Has anyone on the Nats talked about why 160 innings was his limit? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to rest him towards the beginning of the season so he’d be useful in September?

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