The Nationals pitching staff is young and exciting. 2012 could be a very special year for them, but most importantly, it is not a make-or-break year. The addition of Gio Gonzalez makes the staff formidable and also gives them balance, assuming Lannan is in the 4th or 5th spot. The Addition of Brad Lidge in the pen gives the Nats 3 guys who can dominate batters in the late innings, lefties or righties. Who will stand out statistically? To the predictions!
Sean's Win Leader: Jordan Zimmermann - 16. Gio will stay right with him until the end and Strasburg will win more than 10, but won't see enough starts get close to 20. Jordan keeps an even keel and will be THE stopper and have a Quality Start percentage near the top of the league.
Sean's Strikeout Champion: Gio Gonzalez - 200. Stephen Strasburg and Tyler Clippard will both post K/9 rates above 10.0, but Strasburg is on an innings limit and Clip is pitching out of the pen. Gio will also get a boost moving to the NL and will feast on the likes of Ryan Howard and Jason Heyward.
Sean's ERA Leader: Stephen Strasburg - 2.76. He doesn't walk anyone. He strikes out everyone. and he is still learning how to really pitch. Scary.
Craig's Win Leader: Gio Gonzalez - 16. I was all set to agree with Sean on his Zimmermann pick, and I do agree that this is going to come down to the wire. But, looking at the numbers from the previous season, JZimm received the 10th worst run support in all of Major League Baseball. Whereas, Gio Gonzalez won 16 games with an A's team that had the 3rd worst Run Support in the AL. I think that JZimm will continue to be bitten by the run support bug, while Gio Gonzalez will feast on NL hitters and be given some extra run support.
Craig's Strikeout Champion: Gio Gonzalez - 200. I am going to agree 100% with Sean here. Weird. He has shown that he is around an 8.5 K/9 for his career while pitching right around 200 IP a season. I think with the move to the NL he will be able to hit that 9.0 K/9 mark, which averages right out to 200.
Craig's ERA Leader: Drew Storen - 2.20. I think that Storen is going to have an easier go of things this year. If you remember back to last year, Storen started the year as a regular member of the 'pen as Jim Riggleman refused to name a closer (correct me if I am wrong, I don't think he ever actually named Storen the closer...), so he didn't get that adrenaline going til a few weeks into the season*. Even still, he posted a 2.75 ERA and I think that with a year as closer under his belt he will really turn it on. Don't forget, he is just 24 years old.
*Don't forget that Storen had an absolutely dreadful Spring Training*
Those are our picks, CapBallers. What are yours?