JakeTrain72 wrote:He did drive in more runs from the 4-5-6 holes compared to the #3 spot...64 to 46 or 18 more. He also played 28 more games batting in the 4-5-6 spots that gave him 102 more ABs to get those extra 18 RBI. However, batting third, or closer to Soriano, improved his K/BB rate to 2:3 rather than 1:2.5 in the 4-5-6 holes. His best OBP came when he batted third as well.
Right, and that's the point I'm proving. Since he played more in the 4-5-6 hole, most of those RBI were nearly unrelated to Soriano. Soriano was on the bases just 28% of the time last season, meaning that, at the very best, 28% of the time Zimmerman came up, Soriano was on base. Now that's incredibly unrealistic since innings can end before Zimmerman, and also Zim was in the 4-5-6 slots for much of the season making the scenario even less likely.
But regardless, you're proving my point that the bulk of his RBI last season were unrelated to Soriano.
The fact is Zimmerman has less protection and as the biggest threat in the lineup with Soriano gone, he will get pitched around. Getting pitched around doesn't help your RBI output. Zimmerman is good, but he will have less chances to drive in runs worse pitches to hit when he does and isn't a huge HR hitter in a big park. Expecting a 33% increase in HRs in his second full season (often a year hitters regress) with all the factors I just mentioned seems more unlikely to me than predicting 30 fewer RBI for him.
I don't really buy that. Being in the midst of Lopez, Kearns, and Nick Johnson really isn't that poor, in my opinion. And there's a difference between most rookies, and mega prospects who succeed at the MLB level at such an early age. Being in the 3 slot in front of someone like Nick Johnson is just going to increase the quality of pitches Zimmerman sees; if he stays healthy like he did all of '06, he should accumulate the numbers I have projected for him, and I feel none of those are optimistic.