Author: Andrew Swanson
Drafted in the second round of the 2007 amateur draft out of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Jordan Zimmermann was thought to have first round talent and would have been drafted earlier had he gone to a larger school.
The young righty boasts a mid-90’s fastball mixed with a knee buckling slider that afforded him a 9.1 strikeout per-nine innings in his first major league season with the Nationals.
As is the case with many hard throwing pitchers with excellent breaking balls, like fellow National Stephen Strasburg, Zimmermann suffered an elbow injury in 2009 that forced him to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery.
Zimmermann returned in the latter stages of 2010 and posted a pedestrian 4.94 ERA and his strikeout average fell from 9.1 to 7.8. Drafting a player like Zimmermann can be somewhat risky, similar to playing the roulette table in a Las Vegas or Internet Casino, however the potential for large returns with a minimum investment is huge.
Former Nationals GM Jim Bowden describes Zimmermann: “clearly as a no.2 type of starter. This is a guy who, when healthy, you can't pick the ball up, he'll throw it in the mid-90's, he's got a wipe-out breaking ball, and he's a really tough kid.
At his current ADP of 191, Zimmerman is being drafted alongside other mid-level starters like Ted Lilly, Jair Jurrjens and Edwin Jackson. While all three of these pitchers are viable fantasy options, Zimmermann has a greater potential for upside as he will have a significantly higher strikeout average.
Jordan Zimmermann is a true sleeper in that he has a ton of potential upside without a lot of risk at his current average draft position. He is an excellent mid-level starter in mixed leagues and could become a top 20 pitcher by the end of the season.