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Nationals roster review: Joe Ross

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Nationals roster review: Joe Ross

Age on Opening Day 2016: 22

How acquired: Trade from Padres with SS Trea Turner for OF Steven Souza Jr. and LHP Travis Ott (both sent to Rays as part of 3-team deal).

MLB service time: 94 days

2015 salary+bonuses: $507,500

Contract status: Under team control in 2016, arbitration-eligible in 2019, free agent in 2022.

2015 stats: 16 G, 13 GS, 76.2 IP, 64 H, 33 R, 31 ER, 7 HR, 21 BB, 69 K, 1.109 WHIP, 5-5, 3.64 ERA, 3.42 FIP, 1.4 WAR

Quotable: "Joe had an incredible season. For a guy that just turned 22 a couple months ago, he showed the poise and the stuff of a seasoned pro. We really liked him coming into the season. As you can see, he has exceeded everybody's expectation on his developmental curve and the time it took him to get to the big leagues, and how he performed in the big leagues." — Mike Rizzo on Joe Ross

2015 analysis: Little attention was given to Joe Ross when the Nationals joined up with the Rays and Padres to complete a 3-team trade in December. The key acquisition in that deal figured to be Trea Turner ... once the young shortstop was allowed to be named six months following his initial signing. By that point, Ross had already made his major-league debut and already was making a strong impression on everyone.

The right-hander proved to be polished well beyond his years, often pitching and comporting himself like a seasoned veteran. His ability to keep the ball in the strike zone — he issued only four walks in his first seven career starts — immediately stood out as a rare trait for a rookie and helped keep Ross in the Nationals' rotation for most of the summer.

There were a few hiccups along the way, and Ross did show signs of fatigue as he reached September. With his total workload — minors and majors — approaching 150 innings, Ross was removed from the rotation down the stretch but was allowed to pitch out of the bullpen three times in the season's final few weeks, so he wasn't shut down completely by the organization.

2016 outlook: Who knew Ross would enter 2016 as a strong candidate (maybe even close to a lock) to make the Nationals' Opening Day rotation, but that's the situation he'll be in when he reports to Viera for his first-ever big-league spring training.

The Nats will look for Ross to build off his strong rookie year while also refining a few things. They'll want him to display a bit more consistency, especially as the season wears on. The fact he has now been through an entire season should help him deal with long-term physical and mental demands of the job.

If he can take that next step, Ross could well turn into a key piece of the Nationals' long-term pitching plan.

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Max Scherzer thoroughly enjoyed the All-Star experience in D.C.

Max Scherzer thoroughly enjoyed the All-Star experience in D.C.

All-Star Weekend is entertaining for fans and provides and much-needed break in the 162-game MLB season.

It’s not all just for fun, though. Following his start Tuesday night, Max Scherzer shared the benefits of being able to spend a few days sharing a locker room with players from across the league.

Being in the clubhouse, talking to veterans, talking to guys who have been here, getting to know everybody, getting the personalities, you can actually learn a lot from the other players in the league. They’re watching you, they’re watching your team and you get these conversations and it’s great. You’re talking about everybody and you find little things in the game that make them successful and what made you successful and see if you can get better.

Scherzer also didn’t hold back when talking about how great a job the city and his team did hosting the rest of the league. This is his sixth season as an All-Star, so he's speaking from quite a bit of experience.

It was awesome, what an atmosphere. I thought we were a great host team, all the other players in here loved the facilities and the treatment they received - D.C. did it right.

So according to Max Scherzer, the All-Star Game is great, but All-Star Weekend in D.C. is as good as it gets.

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All-Star effort once again proves Washington, D.C. is, in fact, a sports city

All-Star effort once again proves Washington, D.C. is, in fact, a sports city

It’s been an exciting summer for sports in the nation’s capital. 

The Caps won the Stanley Cup for the first time ever and the city celebrated accordingly. The narrative regarding Washington D.C. as a mediocre sports town began to shift.

A city known for its overwhelming number of transients was overflowing with civic pride. 

About a month later, D.C. hosted the MLB’s annual All-Star Game, and all the festivities that come along with it.

And it was a huge hit.

Sidewalks and restaurant windows were plastered with the All-Star Game logo, welcoming visitors to the city. 

Tens of thousands of people attended FanFest at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center downtown. The Convention Center was practically converted into an MLB shrine offering countless interactive exhibits, facetime with former pros and masses of signed memorabilia.

Plenty of locations, particularly in the blocks surrounding Nats Park, offered food and drink specials to baseball fans, providing great alternatives to people who couldn’t make it to the game.

Most importantly, the whole event got a huge stamp of approval from the players. Bryce Harper did an exceptional job creating a great experience for the fans, from his Home Run Derby win to his walk down the red carpet.

Afer his start, Max Scherzer said verbatim "D.C. did it right." 

Several other D.C. athletes, including Ryan Kerrigan and John Wall, were out celebrating in support of their city.

If there was any doubt before D.C. could handle big-time sporting events, there isn't anymore.

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