As we await further news on the future of the MLB, we have the opportunity to look at the upcoming starting rotations for the 2020 season. Plenty of standout names assisted their respective franchise into the top five of this particular segment, as parity in baseball’s pitching depth has become apparent.
As the reigning World Series Champions, many overlook the upcoming pitching staff the Washington Nationals hold. The team finished second in quality starts (87) and 13th in team ERA (4.27).
At the top of the rotation, the Nationals will lean on seven-time All-Star and three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer. During the 2019 season, Scherzer led the league in strikeouts per nine innings (12.7) for the second consecutive year.
Despite being limited to 172.1 innings pitched, Scherzer has totaled 200+ innings pitched in each of the previous six seasons. As one of the most prolific pitchers in modern baseball, Scherzer is primed for another successful campaign.
Despite an injury-riddled start to his career, Stephen Strasburg has developed into a potential ace for years to come for Washington. Last season, the 31-year old improved his ERA (3.32) by 12.7% from the year before while leading the league in innings pitched (209).
Considering Strasburg has only surpassed 200+ innings pitched twice in his career, a realistic expectation would be 10+ wins and a 3.50 ERA across 175 innings pitched. If accomplished, the Nationals have the best pitching duo in the MLB.
In his first career season with the Nationals, Patrick Corbin finished with his best numbers to date. He totaled a career-high in innings pitched (202), and winning percentage (14-7, .667).
Assuming Corbin can finish with 10+ wins for the fourth consecutive season, he will play a major role in the Nationals contending for a playoff position in 2020.
Anibal Sanchez, another seasoned veteran for the Nationals, is coming off arguably one of the best seasons of his career. With an 11-8 record and 3.85 ERA, he becomes an efficient option for Washington towards the bottom of the rotation.
With 130+ strikeouts in four of the last five seasons, Sanchez has a proven track record of being able to display outings of six or more innings pitched. If he is able to produce an ERA below a 4.25 in the upcoming season, Sanchez should find himself with a winning record.
While Erick Fedde has a smaller sample size in comparison to the rest of the Nationals rotation, he has shown flashes of promise over the last five seasons. In 2019, Fedde finished with a 4-2 record to go with a 4.50 ERA.
Fedde has yet to surpass 80+ innings pitched during a single season, but with a string of impressive performances to open the 2020 season, he could solidify himself as the fifth member of the starting rotation.