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The Nationals rotation is strong top to bottom. The National League boasts some of the best rotations in baseball, but Washington's may very well be the best. With two-and-a-half aces (I'll explain as I move forward), a former ace and a more than capable No. 5 starter, I'll take the Nationals' top-five starters over any other team's.
Davey Johnson has named Strasburg the Opening Day starter, and that should be the first step in his limit-free 2013 season. After tossing just under 160 innings in 2012 before getting shut down, Strasburg will be asked to be a workhorse.
Strasburg is the best pitcher on the Nationals—period. His stuff is electric, and his demeanor on the mound far exceeds someone of his experience. All he needs to do is pitch like an ace for an entire season.
The third-place finisher in the NL Cy Young voting last season, Gonzalez won a career-high 21 games while striking out a career-high 207 batters.
The fact that he failed to pitch 200 innings (199.1) kept him from being the true "ace" that Washington needed. If he can eclipse that plateau in 2013—granted, he wasn't all that far off—then the Nationals will have that bona fide second ace that so many other teams seek.
Now, on to that "half-ace" I was referring to earlier. I'm a huge believer in Zimmermann. When considering his previous season-to-season improvements, it's not out of the realm of possibility to see him establish himself as one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball.
With another season of close to 200 innings and a sub-3.00 ERA, I think that will happen.
The team's newest starter and former ace, Haren has been announced as the team's No. 4 starter. Davey Johnson is putting his trust in Haren after an injury-plagued 2012.
With the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Haren posted a 4.33 ERA and tossed less than 200 innings for the first time since 2004. If he can get his ERA under 4.00 and get close to 200 innings, the Nationals will go far.
Chien-Ming Wang was unable to get the job done as the No. 5 starter early on in 2012. When Detwiler stepped in, the back end of the rotation was consistent from the start.
The sky's the limit for Detwiler. He doesn't need to do much to live up to the expectations of a No. 5 starter, but he'd be significantly more than that on several other teams. His potential suggests that he could reach 175 innings and a sub-3.50 ERA consistently for the next several seasons.