W/L: 9(10)-7(8) ERA Range: 3.59-3.79 IP Range: 133-148 WAR Estimate: 2.2-2.5
Because of his experience and injuries, all three projections cannot get a grasp of what Joe Ross should do.
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Because he has so much movement on his pitches, Ross is never a guy that will shut down the side quickly. He will hit 100 pitches a start fast, infuriating fans as he struggles to get into the sixth on his best nights. He relies on that movement for outs and gets burned.
Still, a healthy Ross rill pitch 160-180 innings this year. The record and ERA are around his capabilities but, in 26 projected starts, he should do better than a flat five innings per.
All three models see improvement in BAbip and K/9. From a 7.97 last year, Steamer says 7.9 while the others have him over eight. ZiPS the most bullish at 8.12. As he strikes out more, hitters will fare worse making contact.
From a .319 mark last year, Depth Charts has him at .312, ZiPS at .309 and Steamer an impressive .303. If Ross improves there it translates to an extra couple outs per start. As the fifth starter, how well he does lets the bullpen rest longer.
If, and that is big in Ross’ case, he can get 18 outs a start, the pen will need three innings to finish. For a back end starter that is tremendous. As with Gonzalez, the longer they keep the Nationals in games and pitch, the less stress and fatigue the bullpen has.
Come October, a few innings here and there makes a difference for games inevitably won or lost not be starters, but tired bullpen arms.