The return of Stephen Strasburg gave the Nationals a starting rotation this weekend of Tom Milone, John Lannan and Strasburg. If Thursday’s game had not been rained out, Ross Detwiler would have started it. Those four pitchers have something significant in common – they were all drafted and developed by the Nationals.
One overlooked side effect from Strasburg’s return is the possibility it raises. The Nationals could enter next season with a major league rotation comprised wholly of players produced by their system, all drafted after baseball returned to Washington.
“It’s part of the delivery of the promise that the franchise has made since they came back to town,” former Nationals President Stan Kasten said. “Next year, they are looking at the possibility of a complete homegrown rotation. It’s just hard to do. It’s what we all shoot to do. It makes everything easier.”
The Nationals could still venture out into free agency or trade to acquire a starter. I would bet that they will at least try, perhaps for Astros left-hander Wandy Rodriguez. But it’s possible the Nationals will enter next year with five homegrown starters. Depending on how the offseason develops and how spring training unfolds, the Nationals could have an opening day rotation of Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, John Lannan, Ross Detwiler and either Brad Peacock or Milone.
All six of those pitchers have been drafted since the Nationals moved to Washington. And the No. 1 and No. 2 starters, even with Strasburg’s innings limited, would be as legitimate as it comes.
“That,” Kasten said, “could be the most exciting development since baseball returned.”
A homegrown rotation by no means guarantees greatness or even contention. But it would be an accomplishment of sorts, yet another thing that Strasburg makes possible.
FROM THE POST
The Nationals lost one game and cancelled another at soggy Nationals Park yesterday.
NATS MINOR LEAGUES
Auburn 3, Vermont 2: Auburn took a 1-0 lead in the series. Taylor Hill allowed no runs in five innings on one hit and one walk, striking out eight. Angelberth Montilla went 3 for 4. Carlos Alvarez — yes, that Carlos Alvarez — went 2 for 4 with a double. Billy Burns went 2 for 4 with a double.
Potomac was suspended. They trail Frederick, 0-1, in their playoff series.