Washington Nationals: Breaking down the fifth starter candidates

mdholleran
CINCINNATI, OH - MARCH 31: Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals gets a visit from pitching coach Derek Lilliquist in the sixth inning of the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on March 31, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Nationals won 13-7. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - MARCH 31: Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals gets a visit from pitching coach Derek Lilliquist in the sixth inning of the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on March 31, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Nationals won 13-7. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Washington Nationals
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Washington Nationals have made two big upgrades to the top of their rotation, but the fifth starter spot is still very much up in the air this winter.

Last season for the first time in a long time, the Washington Nationals starting pitching was not one of the biggest strengths of their team. Now, with four-fifths of their prospective rotation locked in, we look at some of the potential candidates for the final spot.

Coming into the season off a stellar 2017 year the Nationals had arguably the best rotation in all of baseball. However, inconsistencies, injuries, and just overall poor performance set the group back in a big way last year.

The Nationals knew they had to make some changes this offseason, and brought in lefty Patrick Corbin and righty Anibal Sanchez to attempt to upgrade their rotation back to its 2017 form. With a top three of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Corbin you could once again make the argument Washington has the best rotation in all of baseball, but there is still one uncertain element.

The fifth starter spot held the Nationals hostage last season, and once again they will most likely come into Spring Training with it unclear as to who will man down that role. We saw the likes of Jeremy Hellickson, Tommy Milone, Austin Voth, Erick Fedde, and Joe Ross all attempted to stick as the fifth starter, but for one reason or another, couldn’t hold it.

Despite having no clearcut favorite for the job with a month until pitchers and catcher report, there are some intriguing options as to who could wind up as the Nationals fifth starter. So let’s take a look at who could win the fifth starter job this spring.

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