This week on the “High and Outside” podcast, we sat down with Washington Nationals starting pitcher Josiah Gray to talk about the melanated mound marauders’ journey as a big-league pitcher. Josiah was acquired last season in the trade that sent Mad Max Scherzer and Trae Turner to LA and is a cornerstone piece of the Nationals’ rebuild.
As we wrapped the interview, Josiah gave us his All-Time, five-man rotation. “Obviously each has their own reason, but those are the guys I think you’d have in your five-man rotation who can go out there and win you a World Series.”
Let’s take a look at the Aces who made Josiah’s rotation.
1. Marcus Stroman
First up is one of the most underrated arms in the game. Now Stroman’s win/loss record over his career won’t blow anyone away, but that is why we have to look beyond a team stat like W/L to show just how good Stroman has been over the years.
Stroman has kept his ERA below 3.25 in four of his eight seasons in the Bigs, a number that he has posted in both the National and American leagues. Stro has been burned by a lack of run support more than most. However, his five-pitch arsenal has been known to keep hitters off balance and produce an insane number of groundballs which usually gives his team a shot at winning.
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He also fields his position as well as anyone in the game.
2. CC Sabathia
One of two lefties to make Josiah’s rotation, Sabathia is the perfect big game pitcher to help fill out this rotation. The last pitcher to record 250 wins, the former Cy Young winner has performed at the highest level on the biggest stage in the game, under the pressure of New York lights.
Sabathia was filthy during the Yankees 2009 World Series run, including going 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA and 12 K’s in 16 innings pitched during the ALCS. Sabathia’s performance earned him ALCS honors en route to his
3. Gerrit Cole
The only other active player to crack Josiah’s five, Cole has been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the past 4 seasons. He may have been disappointing in his 2021 wild card start but take one look at his 2019 playoff run and you can see why players consider him one of the toughest draws in the sport.
The Astros would eventually fall to the Washington Nationals, but Cole was a workhorse for the ‘Stros the entire postseason. He went 4-1 with a 1.47 ERA, striking out 47 batters.
4. Randy Johnson
One of the most dominant lefties of all time, we’ve seen the Big Unit do it all come postseason. During his 2001 World Series MVP run Johnson was a force as a starter AND out of the bullpen. He and Curt Schilling did the impossible, dethroning the Dynasty Yankees who were looking for a fifth World Series in six seasons.
A 5-time Cy Young winner, a weapon like The Big Unit makes any rotation tough to beat.
5. Nolan Ryan
Rounding out the rotation is one of the most legendary (and unhittable) fireballers of all time. Known throughout baseball as the “Ryan Express”, Nolan struck out 300 batters five times over his illustrious 27-year career.
The gifted hurler also won 20 games five times while tossing a record seven no-hitters, three more than any other pitcher in MLB history.