The Other Zimmermann - NBC4 Washington

The Other Zimmermann

Jordan's pitching might make you forget Ryan

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    This might be the last thing NL East batters see before they strike out.

    Remember, it's Zimmermann with two Ns.  Jordan Zimmermann is pitching this spring in a way that's going to make sure you don't forget it.

    With four more scoreless innings (and six strikeouts), Double N now has 12.1 scoreless innings.  Even more impressively, he's allowed just six hits, and he boasts a devastating 16/2 strikeout/walk ratio.

    Far and away, he's been the surprise of the spring, and he's had the kind of performance that warrants him coming north with the club in a few weeks.

    The Nats drafted Zimmermann out of the Wisconsin tundra in 2007 with a second-round pick they got from the Cubs as compensation for losing Alfonso Soriano

    He was on the radar of quite a few clubs, but fell because of questions about the level of competition he faced -- Stevens Point, his college, is a D-III school.

    But he also faced physical questions.  Zimmermann had to battle back from a broken face.  He took a liner off it that broke his jaw.  With his jaw wired shut, he dropped a lot of weight, and the recovery took a little bit out of him.

    But not enough for the Nats to pass.  Thankfully.

    Zimmermann's got a hard, heavy fastball.  He compliments that with a crisp slider.  The two pitches allowed him to blow through his college competition.

    But when he came to the Nats, they told him to put his slider away.

    They wanted him to focus on developing another off-speed pitch.  And to not rely on the crutch of his slider -- which was developed to the point where he could've just chewed all the minor leaguers up with it.

    They forced him to learn how to pitch, and as he developed his other pitches, they let him work the slider back in.

    And you can see the results.

    Just don't confuse him with Zimmerman.  Ryan might be the current face of the franchise, but if Jordan lives up to his potential, the other Zimmerman(n) might have some competition.

    Chris Needham used to write Capitol Punishment.  He's looking forward to April.