Wrapping up the National League East, here are the projections for the Washington National rotation, along with my sometimes insightful analysis of what these pitchers can do for your fantasy teams. In a division where most teams have 2 or 3 top starting options, the Nationals are comparatively loaded for bear.
Starting Pitching Rotation Analysis
Potential Rotation Alternatives
ADP designated by * indicates no reported ADP as of date of publication. Projections are rased on a compilation of several sources (ZiPS, Oliver, Steamer, RotoChamp), given equal weight.
The question I see posed about Strasburg has nothing to do with his talent, but rather whether he will ever be able to pitch 200+ innings in a season. Looking at the projections, it is not a good likelihood in 2014. Make no mistake, he has a power arm that is capable of providing better than a strikeout per inning, putting him into some elite company. The non-counting stats are superb as well, which is why he going off the board as a top five starting pitcher. If you believe he will stay healthy, he is a fine SP1 to begin to build around; if you worry about his durability, then you will most likely look to other top options to anchor your rotation.
Speaking of other options, both Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann are available as options to draft in the late early third of most drafts. Gonzalez will give you the better strikeout numbers, but Zimmermann has the better control (3.8 K/BB in 2013 as opposed to Gonzalez' 2.5) as evidenced by his superior WHIP. They are going at a nearly equivalent point in drafts, so unless you are drafting at the turn, you are likely only to nab one of the duo.
Fister moving to the National League should have a small uptick on his stat line, but he was a fine pitcher in his own right in Detroit over the last year plus. As a groundball pitcher, with excellent control, Fister will pay dividends to his owners as I expect his ERA and WHIP to drop to his career norms this year, since he was unlucky with a jump in BABIP to .334 last season. Keep your eyes open and snag him to bolster your peripherals with modest but acceptable strikeout numbers as well.
I've seen any of the other three pitchers being listed as the Nats' fifth starter. Personally, I would like to see what Tanner Roark could do with his ability to limit home runs and walks, but Roark could well end up in minors to start the season. Neither Ross Detwiler or Taylor Jordan are exciting draft options, being more waiver wire fill-ins as injuries strike your team. You prolly don't want to rely on either, except in a good match up situation.
If you disagree with my assessments, or just want to discuss starting pitching, I can be reached at email@example.com. I enjoy comments and am more than willing to engage in discussion about fantasy baseball, so feel free to write.