4.) Joe Ross showed a lot of poise.
I had been impressed by the 22-year-old right-hander after seeing him pitch and interviewing him in Harrisburg with the Double-A Senators. Ross is a mature, poised player who got a surprising introduction to big league hitters this year. With Strasburg and Doug Fister dealing with injuries in the first half, Ross got the call to the Majors on June 6 and never looked back. When Fister came back and struggled, Ross was given his spot in the rotation, and the results were very positive.
At the big league level, Ross showed the same cool and collected demeanor he showed while in the minor leagues. The former first round pick of the San Diego Padres never gets ahead of himself on the mound and does not lose his poise in high leverage situations. For a rookie, Ross showed impeccable control, walking only 2.5 per nine and striking out 8.1 per nine. Ross throws a heavy fastball with good movement. With another year to work on his changeup and slider, the Nationals could have a real top of the rotation arm in Ross. In 2016, with Jordan Zimmermann likely to sign elsewhere, and Gio Gonzalez beginning to decline in performance, Ross should be the third starter. Based on this year’s results, the Nationals can feel good about that.
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