Predicting the Washington Nationals’ 2014 Starting Rotation
Predicting the Nationals' 2014 Rotation
The Washington Nationals and Mike Rizzo have put together one of the best squads in Major League Baseball. They’ve built through free agency, drafts and trades, and have gone from the basement to front runners over the past several years. Their all-star roster is highlighted by their pitching staff.
They’ve had a couple different versions of their starting rotation the past couple years. In 2012, they had the usual suspects in Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann, but the tail end featured average pitchers Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler. In 2013, Jackson was gone and the team welcomed in Dan Haren.
Haren never panned out and was not resigned over the offseason. To replace him, Washington traded with the Detroit Tigers to acquire Doug Fister. After him, there is a three-way log-jam for the fifth pitching spot between Ross Detwiler, Tanner Roark and Ross Ohlendorf. It should be interesting to see who will win-out in that battle.
Whoever starts and where, you can expect the Nationals to have the best rotation in baseball. Not only do they have high-caliber strikeout pitchers, they have guys that can pitch deep into a game. Matt Williams told reporters at Spring Training that he doesn’t feel the need to bring in two long relievers because he has starters that can go deep into ball games.
On the following five slides, you’ll find my prediction for the Washington Nationals’ starting rotation in 2014. The Nationals are expected to have the best rotation in baseball and this bunch of characters won’t disappoint. Also included in this list is who I believe will win the fifth starter spot sweepstakes.
5. Ross Detwiler
Ross Detwiler finds himself in the thick of a heated battle for the fifth and final pitching spot. Along with Detwiler, Ross Ohlendorf and Tanner Roark are considered in play for the position. While Detwiler struggled last year, you can attest much of that to his injured back. Expect him to win the job and be the fifth starter come Opening Day.
4. Doug Fister
Last December, the Nationals acquired Doug Fister in a trade with the Tigers that sent Ian Krol, Robbie Ray and Steve Lombardozzi to Detroit. In return, Washington got one of the best pitchers in the MLB, making their rotation arguably the best in baseball. Fister is a lock for the rotation and he fits nicely here at number four.
3. Jordan Zimmermann
Jordan Zimmermann is coming off his best season in the majors. A 19-game winner, Zimmermann was in the running for the NL Cy Young Award and many consider him to be the team’s ace. Expect him to be just as strong in 2014.
2. Gio Gonzalez
Gio Gonzalez pitched well in Oakland, but his career has taken off in D.C. His emotion and excitement for the game of baseball is contagious and Washington is better off for it. With all the hype and talk surrounding the other four, Gonzalez could be easily forgotten. However, don’t expect him to fall by the wayside this season.
1. Stephen Strasburg
Say what you will about Zimmermann’s 2013 season, but Stephen Strasburg is still this team’s ace. If he had any run support whatsoever, Strasburg could have won more games than Zimmermann. His 3.00 ERA, 1.049 WHIP and 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings were best on the team, and you can expect that again this year. Not to be overlooked, he’s added a slider to his arsenal that should have opposing hitters weary.