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Jordan Zimmerman has been nothing short of stellar going 6-7 with a 2.66 era in 115 innings in his first full season since Tommy John surgery
Jordan Zimmermann has been the Nationals best starting pitcher this year and should be a fixture in the team's rotation for some time to come. The problem is that Zimmermann is on an innings count following his Tommy John surgery in 2009.
Jordan's innings count is reportedly around 150-160 innings, which Jordan is 35-50 innings away from or about seven starts away from. That would put Jordan out sometime around late August to early September (just an estimation), meaning the Nationals need to have a starter that can replace his workload and not miss a beat.
This key is the hardest one for the Nationals to fill, but it is an important one.
In terms of prospects, the Nationals have two young arms at their AAA affiliate that could potentially fill that void.
LHP Tom Milone was the team's Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2010 and was named to the AAA All-Star Game. At AAA Syracuse this year he holds a mark of 7-5 over 103 innings (16 starts), holding opponents to a .233 BA and striking out 107, while walking just seven.
The second candidate is RHP Brad Peacock, who recently played in the Futures Game with Bryce Harper. Peacock was promoted to AAA Syracuse following that game. At AA Harrisburg he simply dominated going 10-2 with a 2.01 era over 98 and two-thirds innings, striking out a Minor League leading 129 batters and holding his opponents to a jaw-dropping .179 BA.
The most likely replacement will be that of Ross Detwiler given that neither of the two prospects mentioned resides on the team's 40-man roster.
Detwiler has had his ups and downs since being drafted in the first round in '07, but he has shown promise at times and has been solid in seven and two-thirds innings since being called up this year.
Key No. 5 is Jordan Zimmerman's replacement.