Ryan Zimmerman has played on a Washington Nationals team that has been, in a word, lowly since they’ve shed their Canadian-ness.

Before Stephen Strasburg came along, Zimmerman was quite possibly the only thing the Nationals had to celebrate—an established big league star who hits for average and power, and plays marvelous defense at third base.

But because he plays for the Nationals, Zimmerman has been a very underrated player in baseball but he is far less recognized for his clutch play.

Zimmerman is argueably the most clutch player in the league right now.

The evidence is in the statistics—since 2005, Zimmerman has the most game winning home runs with seven, of any player in baseball.

And it seems like every time the Nats call on Zimmerman to deliver a big hit, he comes through for them.

A lot of people will point to the fact that Zimmerman bats in front of Adam Dunn, a formidable power hitter who pitchers would rather not deal with even if there is a real shot at striking him out, as the reason for his success.

But Zimmerman’s penchant for late-inning heroics help dispel that rumor as most pitchers don’t have a choice of whom to deal with when the situation gets desperate.

Zimmerman is also a clutch fielder—something you cannot say about a lot of players.

He’s a fluid third basemen and has a Gold Glove to prove it, but his glove is only half the defensive presence that makes Zimmerman stand out.

Zimmerman’s savvy in the field and rarely makes the kind of mistakes that cost his team when in a tough situation.

One of the distinctions that Zimmerman has that no one seems to have, is that he’s a product of the Washington Nationals.

The Nationals drafted the 25-year-old Zimmerman fourth overall in 2005 as he proceeded to make the team that very year—as he continues to progress to this day. 

The polished third baseman hasn’t even entered his prime as a baseball player and is already making a name for himself as a sold superstar around the league.

Zimmerman’s batting average this season has consistently been in the .290s—well above his career mark of .285, suggesting that Zimmerman is really starting to come into his own at the plate.

The Nats have Zimmerman signed through 2013, which is good news for Nationals fans. As he starts to make more of a name for himself, teams will inevitably be knocking on the Nationals’ door, looking to make a deal.

With the whirlwind at the trade deadline that surrounded Adam Dunn and took Christian Guzman from them, the Nats need Zimmerman to stick around to draw even more attention to their still-fledgling franchise.

Hopefully for Washington fans, Zimmerman remains a National long enough for him and Strasburg to really accomplish something in the nation’s capital.

They play in the National League East, not exactly the easiest division in baseball, but the Nationals can certainly compete in the coming years once Strasburg starts harnessing his potential and the Nationals get more pieces together.

Things do have to be kept in perspective, however, the Nationals are in last place right now and need a lot of help before they can start threatening for a playoff berth.

A run to the playoffs would certainly be nice for Nats fans, but right now they’ll take a winning percentage that rivals Zimmerman’s slugging percentage.

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