Washington Nationals: Four players who need to bounce back in 2019
By Blake Finney
It may be somewhat harsh to include Joe Ross in this list after missing the first half of 2018 due to recovering from Tommy John surgery. But the right-hander wasn’t as sharp as many expected in his brief
He made three big league starts last season to the tune of a 5.06 ERA including a particularly rough outing in Colorado where he gave up three homers. A stark contrast from his 3.95 between 2015 and 2017 when he really flashed a lot of potential at the back of the Nats’ rotation.
Worryingly, he was only able to post a measly 3.9 K/9 when his career before 2018, he had a much better 8.1 K/9. But it’s probably fair to put this down to a small sample size after posting a better looking 6.5 K/9 in his minor league rehab and could improve during a full season.
Right now, Ross is the favorite to open the season as the Nationals’ fifth starter in the rotation, barring a surprising new addition. So the righty is going to have to step up his game again in 2019 to ensure that the team has no weak links in the rotation this year, after a poor year for the starters last campaign.
Though he may not be in the rotation for the whole season as management will likely take a cautious approach in his first full season back, he should be there for the large majority of the year. As long as he can keep his team in most games, then it will be a vast improvement on last year and allow the team’s offense to be its strength once again.