The Washington Nationals starting pitching rotation for 2012 has proved to be one of the best in the entire MLB. One through five, each Nationals starting pitcher has the ability to win a game each and every night.
The Nationals starting pitching staff had similar potential last season, but their ace Stephen Strasburg needed season-ending arm surgery. With Strasburg back to 100 percent, he will lead the Nationals staff as the ace pitcher, and he may even possibly compete for the Cy Young in the National League.
The only issue is that the Nationals have set an 160 innings limit on Strasburg. This limit will become problematic once the Nationals make a run at the NL East crown, and so it will be interesting to see how the team adjusts.
In the off season, the Nationals acquired Edwin Jackson from the St. Louis Cardinals.
Jackson was a solid starter for the Cardinals, and has experience pitching in the playoff atmosphere. This will be important if the Nationals were to make a playoff run. In regards to the Nationals rotation, Jackson will be pitching in the four spot behind Gio Gonzalez.
Gonzalez is also a new addition to the Nationals starting pitching rotation when he was signed during the off-season. Last season, Gonzalez was argubably the best pitcher on the Oakland A’s pitching staff.
With the addition of Jackson and Gonzalez, the Nationals could have the deepest pitching staff in baseball.
Jordan Zimmerman will fulfill the number two starting spot behind Strasburg. The hard-throwing righty is coming off a 2011 season when he was considered the Nationals ace because of Strasburg’s injury. Towards the end of the season, Zimmerman was abruptly shut down by the team as an attempt to avoid further injury.
Ross Detwiler will finish out the National’s starting rotation in the fifth spot.
In the current 2012 season, the Nationals starting rotation is living up to its potential. Through 22 games played, the Nationals are ranked #1 with a 2.33 team ERA, #1 with a .208 opposing batting average, and the team is #1 in total strikeouts with 195. These numbers are outstanding, and if this continues, the Nationals will contend for the National League East division crown.
Although pitching velocity doesn’t equate to success, the Nationals starting five is the fastest throwing rotation in history. Currently, the team starting rotation averages 93.6 mph on their fastballs, making this the fastest average velocity since 2002 (Source: Bleacher Report)
Strasburg leads with an average of 95.3 mph on his fastball. If Strasburg continues this trend, and even possibly increases his average velocity, he will be the fastest throwing pitcher in the MLB.
Starting Rotation for the Washington Nationals
1. Opening Day Starter: Stephen Strasburg
2. Jordan Zimmerman
3. Gio Gonzalez
4. Edwin Jackson
5. Ross Detwiler
2011 & 2012 Nationals Pitching Statistics:
Stephen Strasburg -
2011: 1-1, 24 strikeouts, with a 1.50 ERA.
2012 (Current: July 31st): 11-4, 151 strikeouts, with a 2.76 ERA.
Jordan Zimmerman -
2011: 8-11, 124 strikeouts, with a 3.18 ERA.
2012 (Current: July 31st): 8-6, 96 strikeouts, with a 2.28 ERA.
Gio Gonzalez -
2011: 16-12, 197 strikeouts, with a 3.12 ERA.
2012 (Current: July 31st): 13-5, 137 strikeouts, with a 3.27 ERA.
Edwin Jackson -
2011: 12-9, 148 strikeouts, with a 3.79 ERA.
2012 (Current: July 31st): 6-6, 90 strikeouts, with a 3.52 ERA.