If you haven’t been watching the World Series, you’ve been missing out on some great baseball. But now is your chance to jump on the bandwagon, and tonight is the perfect night. Why? Well, there’s a myriad of reasons why any baseball fan should be paying attention tonight, but Nats fans in particular have one extra reason – C.J. Wilson. The Nationals have said they are in the market for an ace, and his contract ends after this seasons. It’s hard not to list him as the best starting pitcher available at the moment. After the World Series, CC Sabathia may opt out, and Yu Darvish will likely end up coming over from Japan. So at worst, he’s the third best guy.
Personally, I’m not so sure if Wilson is an ace. He’s very good, and his move from the bullpen last year to full time starter has been a rousing success. In 2011, he had a 2.94 ERA in 223 1/3 IP, striking out 206 and walking a worrisome 74, while going went 16-7. The year before, he actually lead the league in walks, with 90, but still managed a 3.35 ERA to go with his 170 Ks. The walks are very troubling, and yet, he’s managed to strike out 376 hitters in the last 2 seasons, and have a 142 ERA+ in a true hitters park. I’m not sure if that shows how good he’s been, or how lucky he’s been, but it’s certainly intriguing.
His postseason, on the other hand, hasn’t been so great. In 8 starts, he’s had a 5.32 ERA, walking 24 and striking out 38 in only 45 2/3 IP. That could be a small sample size, ok it is a small sample size, but it could also be the effects of better hitters being more patient. More than a walk every other inning is just bad. If he does great tonight, of course, that dismal postseason record will look a bit different.
There aren’t an abundance of top flight starters coming available next month. After those 3 named earlier, Buerhle, if he decides to stick around, could be a good addition to any team. Javier Vazquez, who had a great second half, will garner interest. But neither of those guys are guarantees. Roy Oswalt is owed $16 M next year, and he was hurt, and is 32, the Phillies
could potentially did pass on him. Beyond that, you quickly fall to the Edwin Jackson’s of the world. It’s certainly not a total dearth of pitching, but if you’re looking for a real ace, you’ve probably gotta look hard at Wilson, especially if CC isn’t available. As speculative, opinionated Nats fans, tonight’s a great night to start.