Washington Nationals: Josiah Gray needs to taste victory sooner than later
Is the series opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates the night? This is in fact the foe who another Washington Nationals pitching prospect earned his first win against. As little emphasis is put on the win as a pitching statistic anymore, seems as if Nats youngster Josiah Gray needs to get one on his record, so he can at least be done with it.
A top prospect, Gray has made seven starts with the Nationals and has yet to yield a win. In the early going he pitched well enough to get one. In fact, he has left games with the lead, just to see the bullpen squander his performance and leave him with a no-decision. In his last two appearances, Gray has given up six earned runs each time out.
In a time when 200 game winners are the new 300 game winners, for a career, and 20 game winners for a season are few and sometimes far between, why do wins matter? In a statistic driven sport where WAR, WPA, WHIP and FIP, are looked at more than win totals, ERA, and K/9, what does it matter how many victories a starting pitcher has to his name?
So many variables are in play, with run support, ghost runners, pitcher’s not pitching as deep into games, backend bullpen roles, etc., wins and losses are arbitrary. Jacob deGrom won back to back Cy Young Awards where he posted 10 and 11 wins, respectfully. He has 77 wins total, to his name, and he’s 33 years old. And arguably one of the best pitchers in the game today.
While wins don’t matter much anymore, Nationals rookie pitcher Josiah Gray needs to get the first one under his belt and be done with it.
For a 23 year old kid, who is a top pitching prospect and former second round draft pick, going eight starts into a big league career without a win surely adds extra anxiety. Professional athletes say all the right things. “As long as the team wins, individual accomplishments don’t matter.” “I did a few things right tonight, just didn’t pitch well enough to get the win.” However, there is a certain point when statistics do matter.
A pitcher who is around a losing environment, a losing culture, is bound to get down on his abilities. A pitcher with nothing to show for his efforts, in the win column, begins to press more and more, making the margin for error less and less. Losing, or in this case, not winning, affects the overall performance.
Josiah Gray is going to be a great starting pitcher in a few years, he’s already a good starting pitcher. He’s going to win a lot of games over his career, so what he does his win total in a lost season for the Nationals really matter? As long as he continues to develop it shouldn’t right? Breaking through and getting that first big league win sooner rather than later, would be nice for peace of mind purposes. No better time than his next start, against the Buccos.