Washington Nationals: Expectations for Jeremy Hellickson in 2019
One of the more under the radar players on the Washington Nationals is nine-year veteran, Jeremy Hellickson. What can we expect from the right-hander in 2019?
Two weeks before spring training the Washington Nationals starting rotation seemed set. The top four were obvious, and the fifth spot was seen as a battle between Joe Ross and Erick Fedde for the job.
Washington seemed content to go into the year with an outstanding top four and let the number five spot be a wildcard but on February 6 this all changed. The Nationals resigned veteran Jeremy Hellickson, making their already stellar rotation arguably the best in the league.
Last year Hellickson quietly had a very solid season for the Nationals. He finished the year with a 5-3 record in 19 starts to go with a 3.45 E.R.A. in 91 innings pitched. His numbers don’t blow you away, but it seemed like every time Hellickson was on the mound he gave Washington a chance to win.
Hellickson was reliable and a very surprisingly solid pickup for the Nats, and getting him back for the 2019 season may be one of the more underrated moves of the Major League Baseball offseason.
Letting the number five spot go to Ross or Fedde would have been taking a chance. Washington would have either been gambling on Ross being able to return to his old self after Tommy John surgery or bet that Fedde, who only has 14 career starts, could take the next step into being a solid Major League starter.
The Nationals decided to bring the 31-year-old veteran Hellickson back, taking all the doubt out of the fifth starter spot. With Hellickson, you know what you get. He is not going to be Nolan Ryan, but he is going to be good far more times than he is bad.
Hellickson will go out there every fifth day and keep you in the game just like he did for Washington in 2018, and that’s all the Nationals need out of their fifth starter spot.
I expect a much similar year in 2019 as Hellickson had in 2018, and if the Nationals can get that production out of their fifth starter in their loaded rotation they will be the best starting staff in all of baseball.