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Ryan Zimmerman; Mr. Walkoff hits his 10th



Zimmerman gets soaked on his 10th career walkoff.  Photo via

Zimmerman gets soaked on his 10th career walkoff. Photo via

When we last checked in on Ryan Zimmerman, aka Mr. Walkoff, it was July 2013 and he had just hit his 9th career such homer.

Well, last night he hit another.  His 10th career walk-off, an excuse-me shot down the RF line that bounced off the flag-pole and won a fun back-and-forth game against the visiting Yankees 8-6.  Here’s his career homer log via baseball-reference.

Last night’s shot wasn’t in his pantheon of great walk-offs: i’ll put these as his best:

  • The game-winner in the Nats Stadium opener in April 2008, salvaging a blown save in the top of the 9th.
  • A 2-run walk-off against Chien-Ming Wang on Fathers Day 2006 against the Yankees, a game in which the team set its long-running regular season attendance record.

But walk-offs are always awesome to watch, whether you’re at home or elsewhere.

Thanks to this article by Jay Jaffe, which did the play-index work for us, we know that Zimmerman is now tied for 10th all time in walkoffs.  The current active leaders in walk-offs are two noteworthy names; David Ortiz connected for his 11th and most recent walk-off homer on 6/6/13, as detailed by  Albert Pujols either has 10 or 11, depending on if you believe his homer log (which has him at 10) or B-R’s play finder, which says 11.  Since B-R itself says the Play Index data is more up-to-date, I’ll go with 11.

Jim Thome hit his 13th in June of 2012 to take over the career lead just before he retired and is the all-time leader.  Just behind Thome, tied for 2nd all-time, is this quintet of Hall-of-Famers: Jimmy Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Stan Musial and Frank Robinson.

That’s quite heady company; every name I’ve mentioned here is either a Hall-of-Famer or should be.

Being that Ortiz is nearly done, and Pujols is on the decline, and Zimmerman is just 30 and may have another decade in him, it seems like a safe bet that Zimmerman will eventually be the all-time walk-off leader.   Heck, he already had seven through is first 5 pro seasons.  We’ll keep track every time he hits one for sure.

Other links on the topic from the blogosphere:

Quick recap of all 10:

1. Home vs Yankees, off of Chien-Ming Wang (Fathers day 2006)
2. Home vs Marlins, off of Joe Borowski
3. Home vs Marlins, off of Jorge Julio (Mother’s day 2007)
4. Home vs Braves, off of Peter Moylan (opening day 2008)
5. Home vs Marlins, off of Leo Nunez
6. Home vs Padres, off of Luke Gregerson
7. Home vs Phillies, off of Brad Lidge (7/31/10)
8. Home vs Phillies, off of Ryan Madsen (8/19/11)
9. Home vs Mets, off of LaTroy Hawkins
10. Home vs Yankees, off of Andrew Miller (his first runs allowed of the year).

Written by Todd Boss

May 20th, 2015 at 9:45 am

14 Responses to 'Ryan Zimmerman; Mr. Walkoff hits his 10th'

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  1. Good stuff on the R-Zim walk-offs. I don’t have much to add. Just thought this would be a good spot to comment on a sorta-walk-off, the Uggla shot in Atlanta. You did a column on it at the time. We all wondered whether it was just a nice win in the midst of a bumpy stretch, or if it might spark a little turnaround. Well, the results are in. Starting with that game, the Nats are 17-4, with seven straight series wins. It now looks like a watershed moment of the season.

    At the quarter poll in the season, the Nats are in first place and on pace for around 95 wins, basically right where we expected them to be. We just didn’t expect them to have to go 17-4 to get there!


    21 May 15 at 5:02 am

  2. Another reminder that had it not been for his many injuries, RZ could well be on his way to being the Nats’ first Hall Of Famer.

    Karl Kolchack

    21 May 15 at 9:33 am

  3. He still can be the Nats’ first hall of famer. His fielding is fantastic at first and perhaps that gets him back on track after a few down years.

    Andrew R

    21 May 15 at 11:26 am

  4. Uggla game as turnaround: well, normally you’d dismiss that as “arbitrary endpoints” but damn its hard not to look at that game, look at the team before it and after it and not jump to the conclusion that it was a heck of an impactful game to this team.

    Zimmerman’s defense at 1st: yeah its looking pretty good. Fangraphs has him as #1 ranked total D, #2 uzr/150 of any 1B in the league. DRS not as high but its 1 run saved versus 4 from the league leader.

    Zimmerman as HoFamer; just don’t see it. I see him as a similar case to Scott Rolen, except without the accolades. Rolen made 7 all star teams, won a ROY, won 8 gold gloves. Zimmerman has made 1 AS team, won 1 gold glove, a couple of Silver sluggers. And thanks to the presence of Harper & Rendon, I’ll bet Zimmerman never gets another MVP vote in his career. Good player, solid, just never going to be in the discussion for HoFame.

    Todd Boss

    21 May 15 at 3:45 pm

  5. I started playing around with the HOF thing as well and came to the same conclusion – it wouldn’t have happened. Zim’s HR sweet spot is about 25. Being generous and giving him a long and healthy peak, you would come up with 15 x 25 = 375. That very generously would get him to about 400 for his career. He might be in HOF consideration with that number if he had his whole career at 3B, but he’d need a couple of MVPs and world championships to even get in the conversation.

    For comparison, Adrian Beltre just hit his 400th, and Aramis Ramirez is at 374. Some stiff named Matt Williams had 378. I don’t think people will be lobbying for any of them for the Hall. (Although Beltre is going to end up with a better career than Ron Santo.) If you want to play around with the all-time 3B data, here ya go:


    21 May 15 at 8:04 pm

  6. You both have me convinced.

    I also did some looking at great teams and given that Zimm is likely to be no better than the 4th best player on the team for the foreseeable future (Harp, Rendon, Scherzer) and perhaps lower, it’s unlikely he’d get the accolades. He could max out as a Bernie Williams-type contributor, who was fantastic for a number of years on great teams, but will never get consideration for the hall.

    Andrew R

    21 May 15 at 8:11 pm

  7. You know who Zimmerman’s projected career reminds me of? Chris Webber. Zimmerman has already made 73M+ and has another 60M guaranteed. He has a 2020 option at $18M that could get exercised. And at that point he’ll still have a few years in him. Even if he doesn’t make the HoFame, he’s still made an incredible sum of money for his career.

    People often claim that Webber’s career was a failure, that he didn’t live up to his potential or something like that. He never won a championship. Well, his career earnings are somewhere in the $178M range. that’s no failure.

    Todd Boss

    22 May 15 at 9:35 am

  8. In Zim’s favor, without so many injuries he’d easily have over 1500 hits by now at age 30 (he’s at 1363 as it is). All he would then have had to do is stayed healthy and played until his early 40s to collect 3000 hits–and his automatic HOF ticket.

    Karl Kolchack

    22 May 15 at 9:52 am

  9. Brube: completely agree. After his 24yr old season (33 homers 106 rbi, 178 hits) he was sitting at 672 hits and well on his way to some serious numbers.

    Argument for another time; lets say Zimmerman does plug away and averages 175 hits for the next 10 years. He’ll be 40 with 3000 hits. Is he a hall of famer? I dunno. Johnny Damon retired at 38 with 2769 hits; i say “retired” because in reality he just couldn’t find another job. But lets say for the sake of argument he did find another gig for 2 years and collected the additional 231 hits over his last two seasons (a likely feat; he could always slap hit). Would Damon be a HoFame candidate in your mind?

    Todd Boss

    22 May 15 at 10:21 am

  10. OK, yes, 3,000 hits plus 400 HRs would very much get you into the HOF conversation. I think there would be a good bit of debate, though, if Zim collected the numbers in a career where he never placed higher than 16th in the MVP voting.

    For an interesting comparison, in looking at the 3B list, I think Beltre is putting up about what I think Zim’s absolutely optimal numbers could have been. He’s got 400 HRs and could finish close to 450. If he stays healthy this year, he’ll finish his age-36 season with around 2,750 hits (or more), giving him a very good shot at 3,000. He has four top-ten MVP finishes but no wins. He’ll probably pass Chipper in bWAR and may pass Brett, in large part from the plus in defensive numbers he has gotten from the years at SS. But in OPS+, Beltre (114) is nowhere close to Chipper (141) or Brett (135). In fact, even in his compromised career, Zim (119) is better than Beltre. (Matt Williams is at 113.)

    So is Beltre, assuming ~450 HRs and 3,000 hits, a Hall of Famer? I’ve never thought of him as a top-tier star, or as a dominant player, which his low OPS+ shows. I would say the same about Zim. It should be an interesting debate when Beltre comes up for the vote in eight or nine years.


    22 May 15 at 10:41 am

  11. Beltre is also an elite defender. Seems like a guy who doesn’t make it the first few ballots, but starts getting support later on and probably makes it with those numbers…

    Andrew R

    22 May 15 at 10:45 am

  12. Sorry, I was writing at the same time Todd posted, so there’s a little disconnect. As for Damon, I don’t think he even stays on the ballot for a second year.


    22 May 15 at 10:48 am

  13. Beltre’s problem will be this: the electorate as it sits now knows almost nothing about him, since he’s a relatively “quiet” player and doesn’t play on the east coast. And the general electorate doesn’t know jack about defensive stats or WAR or anything that makes him valuable. Now, by the time Beltre retires and comes up for a vote, maybe enough of these BBWAA dinosaurs will be gone and the electorate (which is already shifting towards a modern understanding of baseball value) will give him more credit. but until then … we keep hearing horror stories about voters asking for someone to *print them out* player stats instead of knowing about sites like baseball-reference or fangraphs.

    Todd Boss

    22 May 15 at 12:42 pm

  14. Beltre surprised me, too. If you had asked me, off the top of my head, to name 10 active players with good HOF chances, I probably wouldn’t have thought of him.

    As for Zimmerman, *if he can stay reasonably healthy*, I could see him getting to around 2,500 hits and 325 HRs for his career. A comp, including with a good bit of lost time in the midst of a good career, would be Dave Parker – 2712 hits, 339 HRs, .810 OPS, 121 OPS+. Zim currently is at .824 OPS and 119 OPS+. Although we remember his as a big power hitter, Parker’s HR peak was 34; Zim’s is 33. Zimmerman has a chance to finish with better numbers across the board than Steve Garvey, another well thought of player at a corner INF power position.


    22 May 15 at 10:26 pm

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