Ross Detwiler is in the running for the fifth starting spot in the rotation and he had this to say about it.
“I’ve won it in the past and I think I can again.”
I’m just speculating but it seems to me that he is a little upset about having to win the job this spring. If that is the case, I don’t see why he is upset. He only pitched in 13 games last season and had an ERA over four. If that warrants him a spot in the rotation, he must be pitching for the Houston Astros.
In a stellar rotation like the Nationals have, the fifth spot is important. That starter has to make sure he doesn’t burn up too much of the bullpen and gives the team some good innings. If the fifth starter can keep the team in the game, then he has done his job. Can Detwiler be that pitcher and keep the Nats in the game? That is yet to be seen, but after last season, he will have to prove it in spring training.
Detwiler uses his fastball 88% of the time, with an average velocity of 92 mph. At the Major League level that isn’t going to get elite hitters out the second and third time through the order. He needs to learn how to trust a secondary pitch and be able to use it in big situations. He isn’t that type of pitcher. Doug Fister sits around 90 mph, but he has above average secondary pitches so he is successful.
Ross Detwiler has the arsenal that is more suited for the bullpen in my opinion. A fastball can get hitters out if he is pitching one inning or against a lefty. He gets lefties out at a better rate than righties. He doesn’t face lefties as often, but if he becomes a lefty specialist he could have some success. The other lefty in the pen, Jerry Blevins, has success against both righties and lefties. If he can pitch a full inning with success manager Matt Williams has flexibility later in the game if need be to bring in Detwiler to face a tough lefty.
It will all play out in spring training. Whether it be Ross Detwiler, Tanner Roark or Taylor Jordan in the spot, I believe everything will work out and the Nats will still be great, we just need to figure out who is best suited for that spot in the rotation.