Ryan Zimmerman Wins Gold Glove

Zim snags first of what should be many

By Chris Needham
|  Wednesday, Nov 11, 2009  |  Updated 4:00 PM EDT
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Ryan Zimmerman Wins Gold Glove

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It's Routine for Zim.

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It took a year or two too long for it to happen, but Ryan Zimmerman has finally won a Gold Glove.

It's the first of his career, and likely not the last, either. The slick-fielding third baseman clearly deserved the award, and with last year's winner, David Wright, missing a chunk of the season with an injury, the door was open for him.

The knock against Zimmerman is his error totals. While it's true that he throws the occasional ball away -- mostly owing to lazy footwork on routine throws -- it's missing what he does well: everything else.

Fielding percentage is a terrible way to evaluate fielders, especially with how subjective each park's scorers can be. Who would you rather have? A fielder with tremendous range who makes 20 errors a year, or a sure-handed, five-error fielder who has Adam Dunn's range?

It's an easy call. Zimmerman might make a few more errors, but he gets to more balls than any other fielder in the league. The beauty of watching an amazing third baseman on TV is that on first watch, you don't really know what the heck he's done.

You hear the crack of the bat, then the "Ohhhhh!" of the crowd, as the behind-the-plate camera pans to the left, before tracking the throw. You never really get a good sense of what just happened.

But on the replay, you see it. You see Zimmerman, lunging, stretching to his right, bringing his glove out low, then snapping it up as fast as he can to snare a ball before it rolls into the corner for a double. Then you notice him stand quickly and fire off a strike for a bang-bang out at first.

Like with his stats, you need to look closer at the play to appreciate it. The first glance might not seem like much. But then you notice how so few other third basemen make those kinds of plays. You notice how many sharp grounders bang past the third-base bag.

And you realize it. Ryan Zimmerman really is the best fielder in the league.

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