Washington Nationals: Projecting the production of the starting rotation

MIAMI, FL - JULY 10: Stephen Strasburg
MIAMI, FL - JULY 10: Stephen Strasburg /
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Stephen Strasburg

3.43 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 4.5 WAR

Throughout Stephen Strasburg’s entire professional career, he has had to deal with incredibly high expectations. After all, he was one of the most heavily-discussed draft prospects of all-time and was selected first overall.

Strasburg took the baseball world by storm, striking out 14 Pirates in his major league debut, but everyone has been left wanting more ever since. He has been dominant, pitching to a 3.07 ERA in eight major league seasons, but everyone always seems to want more.

This is partially because Strasburg has battled countless injuries throughout his career. He is among the best pitchers in the league when healthy, but staying on the field has been a problem.

At least that was the case until 2017.

Last year, Strasburg finally managed to remain relatively healthy for an entire season and put it all together. He had a phenomenal season overall, but pitched to an microscopic 0.86 ERA throughout the second half. Then, the righty did not allow an earned run in 14 postseason innings.

However, despite his tremendous finish to the 2017 campaign, FanGraphs thinks Strasburg will regress in 2018. According to the FanGraphs Steamer projection, he will finish just behind Scherzer in ERA, WHIP, and WAR.

The case could be made for some regression, as Strasburg’s otherworldly second half may not be repeatable, but he probably won’t regress that much. You could also make the case that he will be better than Scherzer in 2018.

Health will be a key for Strasburg once again in 2018. If he is able to remain healthy, look for him to eclipse his FanGraphs projections and possibly keep Scherzer from winning his third consecutive Cy Young Award.