(John McDonnell / The Washington Post)

Six years after the Nationals drafted him in the second round, and four years after he underwent Tommy John surgery, Jordan Zimmermann had already wedged his way among the best starting pitchers in baseball. Saturday afternoon, he received further validation.

A year after rotation mates Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez made the National League all-star team, Zimmermann will head to the sport’s annual showcase. Fellow players voted Zimmermann on to the team, and he earned his spot by virtue of a league-leading 12 wins and an ERA that rose Saturday afternoon to 2.57.

Zimmermann, 27, has carried the Nationals pitching staff all season – entering Saturday, the Nationals had gone 14-3 when he started and 30-39 when he did not. Zimmermann ranks fourth in the National League with 126 innings pitched and has thrown three complete games. He has struck out 85 batters while walking only 17, steamrolling lineups with his hard-charging style and an unchanging countenance.

Zimmermann’s place on the all-star team underscores his ascension to the sport’s upper tier of starting pitchers. Since the start of the 2011 season, only Clayton Kershaw, Cliff Lee and Johnny Cueto own a better ERA than Zimmermann’s 2.90.

More on the Nationals and the All-Star Game:

Zimmermann’s statistics | NL and AL pitching leaders

Harper youngest ever to be named NL starter

Desmond snubbed, but makes NL Final Vote