Big April nets Zimmerman NL monthly honor

Big April nets Zimmerman NL monthly honor

A career rejuvenation of sorts early this season has propelled Ryan Zimmerman to the top of most individual leaderboards, a significant ascension from his statistical output even late last year. With several other highly competitive candidates, including a few teammates, the Nationals' first baseman was named the National League Player of the Month for April on Wednesday.

It marked the first time in his 13 seasons, all with the Nats, that Zimmerman had received the monthly honor.

Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for Zimmerman

In April, Zimmerman led the Majors in hits (37), RBIs (29), batting average (.420), slugging percentage (.886), OPS (1.345) extra-base hits (19) and Barrels (15), and he tied for the MLB lead in home runs (11).

Past winners

"It means you had a hell of a month," Nats manager Dusty Baker said. "That means you were the baddest cat in your league for the month. He was the MVP for that month."

The Nationals have won four of the past seven Player of the Month Awards during the past year, with Zimmerman joining Bryce Harper (April 2016) and Daniel Murphy (May and July 2016).

On Saturday, Zimmerman blasted a 470-foot shot that at the time tied Manny Machado for the longest homer this year and was the longest at Nationals Park in the Statcast™ era. He also finished the month on a seven-game extra-base hit streak, which he carried into May with a double on Tuesday.

"It's hard to describe," Zimmerman said last weekend about his feeling at the plate. "You don't want it to go away. Just keep doing the same stuff you've been doing, keep doing your routine and your work and hope it somehow lasts for six months."

A traditionally slow starter, this has been by far Zimmerman's best April, which he's attributed to having an uninhibited Spring Training when he wasn't rehabbing an injury. Through the first month last year, Zimmerman posted a .219/.301/.301 slash line, with one homer, seven RBIs, 19 strikeouts and eight walks in 83 plate appearances.

Zimmerman was named the NL Player of the Week for the period ending Sunday, on the heels of teammate Bryce Harper, who took the honor the week before. It was the fourth time Zimmerman had received the weekly honor and his first since July 2012.

"Everybody was getting on me last year, bench him, get rid of him, remember all those days?" Baker said. "Now they know that Zim is back."

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.

Nationals reporter Jamal Collier contributed to this story.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.