Thursday, March 21, 2013

MAKING THE PITCH: Washington Nationals

Will Gio Gonzalez repeat his breakthrough performance
from 2012?
(photo courtesy of Mike McCann's Field of Fotos)


Felipe M


We take a look at the projected starting rotations and closer situations of every MLB team.  Of course, this will come from a fantasy perspective.  All cited stats are based on 2013 projections.  

Let's take a look at the Washington Nationals.

PROBABLE STARTING ROTATION
  1. Stephen Strasburg
    • Good: In terms of numbers, he might be the best pitcher in the Majors right now.
    • Bad: It remains to be seen how he will react to a full season and, presumably, no more pitching limits.
  2. Gio Gonzalez
    • Good: 9.18 K/9 proves that he can dominate hitters.  Based on his HR/9 of 0.71, Gonzalez won't hurt himself by giving up many homeruns.
    • Bad: 3.53 BB/9 is a concern.  It also raises his WHIP to 1.25 and is stopping him from becoming a legit, 1st Tier pitcher.  Barry Zito is projected to have a similar BB/9.
  3. Jordan Zimmerman
    • Good: He pitched a full season of baseball in 2012.  He struggled down the stretch, but that was due to fatigue as he's never pitched that deep into the season before (2011, was shut down early due to pitch count/innings limit).  3.93 K/BB shows he can limit walks (BB/9 of under 2) and provide enough strikeouts.  
    • Bad: Health is a slight concern, but he's proven himself in the last two seasons that he's ready to take his game to another level.  He did admit having "dead arm" issues earlier in the spring, but recent reports show he's pitching a lot better.  
  4. Dan Haren
    • Good: Last season's K/BB of 3.72 and 7.25 K/9 showed he can still be a good starting pitcher (Similar numbers to teammate Zimmerman).  However, a drop in velocity (team is actually content that he can top 90 m.p.h.) is the reason why a decrease in K/BB and K/9 is expected this season.  
    • Bad: Recurring back problems have many publications doubting that Haren can return to being a legit ace on your pitching staff and actually surviving an entire, Big League, season. Many doubt that he can actually post K/9 of 7.17 and K/BB of 3.36.
  5. Ross Detwiler
    • Good: He won't hurt himself with homeruns or too many walks.
    • Bad: Low strikeout numbers (K/9 of 5.67) and high WHIP of 1.35 makes him near unusable.  Currently ranked between Bud Norris and Wily Peralta: two pitchers with control problems.
CLOSER
  1. Rafael Soriano
    • Good: Armed with a decent K/9 (9.80) and respectable K/BB of 3.21, Soriano does enough to earn saves.  He also limits the number of base-hits he gives up (6.59 H/9)
    • Bad: It is unknown that he will be ready for the beginning of the season as he's recovering from an infected wisdom tooth.  
FANTASY ADVICE

Soriano is currently ranked outside of the 1st-tier closers' rankings, just ahead of Chris Perez.  Might not be a bad idea to handcuff him with Drew Storen or perhaps even Tyler Clippard.

The Nationals have themselves a good rotation.  Strasburg's numbers and potential are astronomical.  He and Justin Verlander will be battling for the top fantasy pitchers' spot all season long.

Gonzalez would rank a lot higher if he can control his walks, but being a potential 2nd Tier pitcher is not too shabby.  On the other hand, Zimmerman has plenty of doubters out there that might lower his stock in drafts, but his numbers and ability make him a borderline, top 30 starter.  He is a possible steal in drafts this season.  

Dan Haren can also prove to be a steal as many owners will be wary about his back issues and drop in velocity, but he still has enough control of his pitches to be a serviceable pitcher.  Speaking of control, Detwiler's ticket to a fantasy roster will be his control, otherwise he is close to being a spot starter, coming off the waivers to fill in for your club throughout the 2013 season.  

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