Washington Post's Adam Kilgore reports that Jim Riggleman is likely leaning towards Garret Mock as the Nationals fifth starter:
"Yesterday afternoon, Manager Jim Riggleman said the competition had not reached a point where he felt comfortable choosing his five starting pitchers. He had an interesting way of answering that question in regard to Garrett Mock.
"We're pretty confident up to this point the way Lannan and Marquis and Mock, the way they've come in throwing," Riggleman said. "We kind of feel like they're doing what they need to be doing to nail down a spot. Mock is still competing for that spot, but he continues to make a nice progression."
Mock has been anything but perfect this spring for the Nationals, but to be honest, no one outside of Strasburg has. Mock has had three starts in Florida allowing four earned runs and twelve hits in nine innings. He has allowed two homers, but has struck out five without walking any, showing strong consistency and control with his above average stuff. Mock has the ability to be effective but very few people seem sold.
The Hardball Times, who recently re-released their pitcher projections, forecasts Stephen Strasburg to post a 2.86 ERA this season...as a rookie. Rob Neyer of ESPN SweetSpot points out that if Strasburg posts numbers like that in his rookie season, he'll be among super-elite company:
"And if he's at 2.86 as a rookie, what's he going to do once he's learned to pitch?
Because 2.86 -- if that's his true talent level -- would already put him in a class of pitchers including Pedro Martinez, Tom Seaver, Greg Maddux and a few other Hall of Famers ... but when those guys were ages 25 through 28! In other words, Stasburg at 21 would be as effective as the best pitchers we've seen were at their peaks. "
Neyer went on to say that when people ask him about Strasburg he maintains that his rookie season will likely be similar to Mark Prior. In 116.2 innings his rookie season, Prior posted a 3.32 ERA with 147 strikeouts.
Lastly here is a great story by Adam Kilgore, yet again. He talks to the two young athletic outfielders for the Nationals, Burgess and Hood. Burgess has lost weight, and Hood speaks about missing his chance to win a college football championship with the University of Alabama.