Who should be the Nationals Opening Day Starter?

The Nationals have not had a true ace in their rotation since the departure of Max Scherzer via trade, leaving the spot for Opening Day starter up to best pitcher available. After Patrick Corbin got the nod the past couple seasons despite subpar performance, who should get the nod this season?

Sep 11, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Washington Nationals pitching coach Jim Hickey (48)
Sep 11, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Nationals pitching coach Jim Hickey (48) / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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The Favorite

Josiah Gray

Josiah Gray
Washington Nationals v Baltimore Orioles / Jess Rapfogel/GettyImages

The Nationals lone All-Star selection from a year ago, Josiah Gray enjoyed a strong season for the Nationals and was unquestionably their best pitcher. Now it did not come without some bumps in the road, but I was once told that bumpy roads lead to.... nevermind.

After a very rocky 2022 campaign that was effectively his rookie season, Gray started out the year very strong after a tough first start in a loss to the Braves in the first series of the season. Gray was lights out for the better part of two months, but of course struggled to get any run support from his offense. Nevertheless, Gray gave the Nationals a chance to win each time he took the ball, which is more than can be said for most of the pitchers in last year's rotation.

Gray's second half of the season was not as fruitful, as the month of August really inflated what was otherwise an incredible season. Gray had an 8.81 ERA in August, which ballooned his second half ERA to 4.76 as opposed to 3.41 in the first half.

When it was all said and done, Gray finished the season with a 3.91 ERA and an ERA below 4.28 in every month of the season aside from August, with three months below a 3.00 ERA. Some analytics may not be kind to Gray, but the results were there and it was a drastic improvement from his 2022 performance.

All things considered, Josiah Gray is the current favorite for the title of the Nationals' Opening Day starter and should absolutely get the nod.