Washington Nationals pitcher Joe Ross pitched for the first time this season on April 7 and has appeared in 12 games out of the bullpen.
The Washington Nationals sit only seven games back of the division-leading Philadelphia Phillies, but it feels like it should be more with the way the team has played this season.
According to Baseball Reference, the Nats had worst start through 40 games since the 2009 season when they started 12-28.
It seems like forever ago, but for longtime fans, the problems are eerily familiar. One issue for the team has been the backend of the rotation.
Joe Ross has been coming out of the bullpen for the entire season so far, and it is high time that he gets put back into the rotation for good.
If the Nats are looking to turn the season around, or at least begin to build some foundation for the future, they need to start getting Ross and Fedde on a more regular schedule.
No matter your opinion of Jeremy Hellickson, he is not the future of the pitching staff. He is 32-years old and rarely touches 90 mph anymore, in addition to the fact that the coaching staff is hesitant to let him pitch a third time around the order.
Ross has been in the rotation before and has been identified by the front office as the future of the pitching staff many times. If he is being kept in the bullpen for health reasons or an innings limit, that will make sense, but that has not been the sentiment from anyone inside the organization.
I can think of no better people for Ross to learn from than Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin, two pitchers who have both gone through Tommy John surgery in their professional careers and emerged out the other side as phenoms.
Ross is now going through that same post-surgery process, except is not being treated as equivalent to what those two did post-surgery.
If Ross is ready to get back on track and his arm can handle it, there is no better place than as the 4th starter behind the best 1-2-3 punch in all of Major League Baseball.