Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Acquired from the San Diego Padres through the Wil Myers trade this winter, Joe Ross wasn’t even considered Major League ready at the start of the season. Not even considered the biggest prospect shipped to the Nats in the trade, not many gave him a second thought in terms of making an impact in 2015. However, upon his promotion to the majors on June 6th after A.J. Cole‘s demotion to triple-A, there he was competing at the highest level. In his seven career major league starts, Ross is 3-3 with a 2.80 ERA, 0.911 WHIP, 47 strikeouts, and only 4 walks.
With Stephen Strasburg’s return from the disabled List, rather than demote Ross back to AAA, manager Matt Williams decided to keep the rookie pitching every fifth day and regulated struggling veteran Doug Fister to the bullpen. While he is reportedly on an innings limit this season, he could be very valuable down the stretch to a Nationals club struggling to limit opponents’ scoring and he has held his own against some of the game’s best pitchers.
In the rotation this season or not, Ross has pushed himself to the forefront of plans for the future for years to come. Only 22-years old and a former first round pick, the potential to be a superstar is very much there. His brother, Padres’ starter Tyson, may already be the better pitcher right now, but Joe may give him a run for his money when it’s all said and done. The Nats may have struck gold in the trade for Joe Ross, and as a result, have a dominant, young pitcher as a rock in the rotation for years to come.