Player Preview: Joe Ross
Joe Ross made his MLB debut with the Nationals in June of 2015 with an admirable performance against the Chicago Cubs. Joe Ross would go on to start 13 games last season and was able to make a place for himself in the Nationals rotation until September when he entered 3 games as a reliever. Joe Ross's 2015 means he will vie for a shot in the Nationals rotation in 2016 and he has a good chance given his 2015.
Joe Ross was called up to the big club on June 6th after Stephen Strasburg hit the disabled list. Ross lasted 5 innings in his MLB debut while, while striking out 4 and allowing 3 runs. Ross's next start saw him go 8 frames, while striking out 8, and allowed the right hander to notch his first MLB win. Ross stayed consistently in the positive for a while over the course of the season, ultimately having 5 wins and 5 losses over his 13 games started. Ross's last 2 starts of the 2015 season were less than stellar, seeing him go 4.1 innings or less in that time. Despite those rocky final 2 starts of the season, Ross had a solid 2015. His final line on the season was 76.2 innings pitched, an 8.1 K/9, and a 3.42 FIP.
In 2012, the talk of the town and all of MLB was the infamous Strasburg shutdown. The Nationals took a slightly different approach with Joe Ross, opting to move the young right hander to the bullpen. He made 3 appearances out of the bullpen, all of which showed him flourish in those situations. Ross did not allow a single run in those appearances and walked only one over 3 innings. Ross showed a lot of promise and that the Nationals made the right move when they sent Souza to the Rays and the Padres sent the pitcher to Washington as part of a 3 team trade.
After an impressive 2015, Ross stands to take a spot in the Nationals rotation at the beginning of the 2016 season. If Ross is able to do what he did in 2015 over a full season in 2016, the Nationals have an excellent pitcher who will be a huge part of the team. Ross is also under team control for quite a while, which is hugely beneficial after losing Jordan Zimmermann and with Stephen Strasburg's pending free agency after the 2016 season.
Anything could happen between now and the start of the season, but right now the Nationals have a valuable asset in Joe Ross. As a team that is all about starting pitching, Ross figures to be a critical part of any success the Nationals have in 2016.