Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/1/13
Last night's Rays win over the Rangers in the American League play-in game means that former Nationals great David DeJesus will taste the postseason for the first time in his 11-year big league career. What do you think DeJesus will remember most about this season - finally reaching the playoffs or those three at-bats he got in a Nationals uniform back in August? They're probably about even is my guess. If someone was stranded in a cave without TV or the Internet for the last six months and today they looked strictly at the statistics from this season they might wonder whether Ryan Zimmerman's defense will force the Nationals to move him away from the hot corner as soon as next season. Zimmerman committed 21 errors this year fourth-most in the majors. According to Fangraphs he finished the season with a minus-14 UZR the catch-all defensive metric that measures runs saved or given up defensively. By that metric Zimmerman was the third-worst defensive infielder in the game this season. Look beyond those numbers however and you'll see something more. You'll see that Zimmerman who had surgery last winter to clean out the A/C joint in his throwing shoulder steadily improved defensively as his health improved and as the season went on and by the end of the year he was back to firing strong accurate throws across the diamond. Over his first 27 games this season Zimmerman made a whopping eight errors and had a lowly fielding percentage of .896. He went through a five-game span from April 12-16 where he made four errors and then had two errors in one game back on May 11 against the Cubs the game in which Stephen Strasburg completely unraveled in the fifth inning in a Nationals loss. But as the season progressed the errors started to decrease and Zimmerman's confidence started to improve. In July Zimmerman committed just two throwing errors. In August he made three. In September Zimmerman committed just one throwing error and went the final 21 games of the season without a throwing miscue. Down the stretch he made a couple spectacular defensive plays showing off not just the glove but arm strength that we haven't seen from him in a while. Check out a couple things on those plays which you can watch here and here - Zimmerman's arm slot (straight over the top and the throws had some mustard on it) and his positioning (a handful of feet behind the bag indicating he has enough faith in his arm to play deeper and still be able to cut down runners at first).
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