When you watch Ross pitch, he usually has great poise on the mound. That changed in Game 4 of the NLDS last year when he went 2.2 innings and gave up four runs. In fairness to him, it was only his fourth start off the disabled list (shoulder inflammation).
Like Gonzalez, Ross has a strong April last season. He had a 0.79 ERA in his first four starts and held opponents to a .195 average. Then, as the season went on, the ERA got higher and the batting average against got higher. In early July, he went on the DL because of the aforementioned shoulder inflammation.
During the first week of spring training, Ross talked to Jamal Collier of MLB.com about some of the changes he has made this winter to his delivery:
"Fixing it is a minor tweak, one that has been pointed out by his throwing partners and that he has noticed by looking at his reflection. “It feels natural — then next thing I know, my arm’s way back here,” he said. (h/t Jamal Collier, MLB.com)"
As the number five starter, Ross isn’t under as much pressure compared to the other four starters. But, in his third season, he is still looking to finish a season where he doesn’t have to go on the disabled list. With the Nats lack of rotation depth, that might be a need this year more than previous year.
For the final part of our roster projection, it’s time to look at the bullpen: