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Monday, October 05, 2009

MASN: Wood: Scout’s honor: It’s Zimmerman

More like Ditzy’s honor.

Anyway, one AL scout sat down at my table in the lunch room, and we started talking about his team, though he was more interested in talking about the Nats.

“You guys have the best all-around player in the game.”

Do tell.

“I would take Ryan Zimmerman over any player on our ballclub.”

His club - though not a postseason participant this year - has a number of former and current all-stars on its roster, so the Zimmerman comment was particularly interesting.

“I scouted him at Virginia, and on the report I turned in I wrote ‘better than Brooks Robinson’ which raised some hackles in the office, but I really believe it.”

You’d take this guy over Albert Pujols?

“Yes, and here’s why: Pujols is a great, great hitter, but he’s a fairly average defender. Zimmerman puts up offense, and plays a virtually flawless defense. He’s the best defensive player I’ve ever scouted at any position. He makes plays no one else makes and makes it look easy. When he moves into the shortstop’s hole on the overshifts he’s made some absolutely astounding plays. I doubt the Washington fans have any idea how good he really is. If he doesn’t win the Gold Glove this year the award is an absolute joke.”

Repoz Posted: October 05, 2009 at 10:54 AM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cardinals, nationals, scouting

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   1. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq., LLC Posted: October 05, 2009 at 12:47 PM (#3340442)
Pujols is a great, great hitter, but he’s a fairly average defender.
Sure he is.
   2. Chris Needham Posted: October 05, 2009 at 12:58 PM (#3340451)
Is that better or worse than the commenter there who compares him to Mike Schmidt? sigh
   3. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 05, 2009 at 01:07 PM (#3340456)
Is that better or worse than the commenter there who compares him to Mike Schmidt?

Well, his line this year would have fit nicely into Schmidt's career. It was tougher to put up a line like that in 1974 than it is now, but still.
   4. Dylan B Posted: October 05, 2009 at 01:52 PM (#3340497)
“I scouted him at Virginia, and on the report I turned in I wrote ‘better than Brooks Robinson’ which raised some hackles in the office, but I really believe it.”

I bet his current view of Zimmerman is somewhat clouded by this. I would say most scouts would overrate players they scouted when they were younger vs. players they didn't evaulate.
   5. zfan Posted: October 05, 2009 at 01:54 PM (#3340500)
Why not move Zimmerman to shortstop, then?
   6. OsunaSakata Posted: October 05, 2009 at 01:59 PM (#3340510)
If you weighed fielding and hitting equally, I could see putting Zimmerman ahead of Pujols. But by that criteria, Mauer should be ahead of Zimmerman. And no sane GM weighs fielding and hitting equally for an individual player.
   7. asinwreck Posted: October 05, 2009 at 02:05 PM (#3340513)
Pujols ain't exactly Dave Kingman with a glove. The scout's comments that Washington will beef up its scouting department this winter because the team committed to the highly-respected Rizzo is more interesting than this silliness. It'd be cool to see the Nationals emulate their ancestors and stock up on prospects like the Expos did in the late 80s.
   8. TerpNats Posted: October 05, 2009 at 02:26 PM (#3340535)
Zim will never be the power hitter Schmitty was at his peak, but defensively now he's about as good, possibly slightly better. The Pujols comments are a bit ludicrous; defense figures more into the equation for middle infielders than for third or first basemen, and Pujols is obviously a far better hitter than Zimmerman.

I concur with asinwreck's thoughts about scouting. If the Lerners spend the bucks to lure scouts from other franchises, this could pay off for the Nats by mid-decade. And there's still too much deadwood in the organization from the MLB/Minaya/Bowden era, scouts and minor-league instructors no one else wanted or guys who were cronies of Jimbo.
   9. Chris Needham Posted: October 05, 2009 at 04:24 PM (#3340637)
7/8: what's ridiculous about those comments on the scouting, though, is that they assured us two or three offseasons ago that that's just what they had done.

I remember an article by Barry Svrluga (who's no dope) talking about how they've lured all these big-name scouts away from other orgs by paying top dollar.

And now we're hearing this? On top of the speculation by one of the national writers (Rosenthal?) that the Nats were dramatically understaffed in their scouting operations this season?

It's not computing. Are we better off than we were? Seems like we're starting back at square one.
   10. cardsfanboy Posted: October 05, 2009 at 04:36 PM (#3340649)
this is why some people don't take scouts seriously. (for the record on my most recent personal MVP ballot I have Zimmerman listed--not that I get a real vote) Pujols is average defensively? Really? C'mon shouldn't Pujols get at least a little bump for his blazing speed.

have to agree with post 3, I think that this guys man-love for Zimmerman is clouding his unbiased opinion.
   11. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: October 05, 2009 at 04:42 PM (#3340657)
I would say most scouts would overrate players they scouted when they were younger vs. players they didn't evaulate.
Agreed and important. (This isn't anti-scout - it's human nature.)
   12. Walt Davis Posted: October 06, 2009 at 12:21 AM (#3341141)
Well, UZR has him at +19 this year, which ain't shabby. Of course in the eternal wonder of defensive stats, his previous three years were 2.1, 17.4 and 4.1.

Anyway, for whatever it's worth, they have him a 7.2 WAR and $32 M. The slack-ass Pujols has only 1.8 UZR this year, 8.5 WAR and $38 M. I suppose if you believed both sets of numbers represented current levels of "true" talent and took age into account, you might choose Zimmerman over Pujols over the next 5 years or so.

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