Doug Fister is going to be playing his first season outside of the American League in 2014. The Nationals traded for him earlier this winter in what could be the best move of the offseason, so far.
Doug Fister will fit in nicely into the four spot in the rotation. That is if Jordan Zimmermann is still a Nat on Opening Day. I believe he will be but rumors are floating around about him. Fister, in 2013, pitched over 200 innings, struck out almost seven per nine innings, and got a ground ball 54% of the time. That all led to him giving up less than four runs per nine.
The crazy thing is, that is all against the American League, where teams have better offenses (on paper). He will be shifting over to the National League where he gets a free out every nine batters and an eight hitter that is lucky to hit .260. The National League is completely different from the American League and it will work in Fister’s favor.
The steamer on FanGraphs projects him to lower his ERA, but pitch less innings, and lower his BABIP. That is because of the transfer to the N.L. He got weak ground balls in the American League, I can’t wait to see what he does in the National League. They also expect his strikeouts to go up because of the same reasons.
Fister is completely different from the other starters on the Nats staff. Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and let’s say Ross Detwiler all through mid to upper 90′s while Fister sits at 88. He still gets guys out and makes hitters look silly in the box. It doesn’t matter how hard you throw as long as you can control your pitches and get ground balls. Fister does that, and he is successful.
If you can find a better move so far in baseball I would like to know. Fister may not be the biggest name but he finished in the top 15 in the majors last season in multiple pitching categories, all in the A.L. He joins a staff that could be the best in baseball depending where other free agents end up. If none of them join Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke the Nationals will have the best rotation in all of baseball. That will make them one of the top picks to win the World Series in 2014.
Fister was a steal from the Tigers and he will only get better coming to a weaker offensive league. Nats fans will grow to love Fister and his 88 mph sinker that gets ground balls, instead of the 98 mph heat at the neck that gets a strikeout. Both are outs and those outs lead to wins.