The Magnificent Seven: A Tribute to the Best Pitchers in Washington Nationals/Expos History

Photo by Sol Tucker for TalkNats

The Washington Nationals baseball team, born from the transformation of the Montreal Expos in 2005, carries with it a unique legacy that spans the heart of Canadian baseball to the bustling energy of America’s capital. This significant shift not only marked the end of the Expos, which in 1969 became Major League Baseball’s first team outside the United States but also heralded a fresh start for the franchise in Washington, D.C.

This evolution preserved a cherished part of baseball history while injecting new vigor into the team, leading to notable highs, including their crowning achievement, the 2019 World Series victory. Such triumphs have unified a diverse fanbase, celebrating the journey from Montreal to Washington and spotlighting the unbroken thread of passion and resilience that defines the Nationals. This blend of past and present highlights the team’s rich narrative, from its Canadian roots as the Expos to its establishment as a cornerstone of American baseball culture in Washington, D.C.

1. Max Scherzer

Max Scherzer’s tenure with the Nationals from 2015 to 2021 was highlighted by remarkable
achievements that serve as perfect examples of pitcher performance props. His collection of
three Cy Young Awards in his career and two with the Nats, alongside a crucial role in securing the 2019 World Series title, illustrates the kind of standout performances that earn a pitcher widespread recognition.

Scherzer’s ability to dominate with his fastball, combined with a deceptive changeup and unmatched competitiveness on the mound, underscored his significant contributions to the Nationals. These achievements not only solidified his status among pitching elites but also demonstrated the impact of exceptional pitcher performances on a team’s success.

2. Stephen Strasburg

From the moment he was selected first overall in 2009, Stephen Strasburg was heralded as a franchise cornerstone. His 2019 postseason, culminating in a World Series MVP award, was a showcase of his career-long brilliance to that point. Strasburg’s devastating fastball, changeup, curveball and precision pitching have made him a symbol of the Nationals’ pitching prowess. He was originally pitching triple-digits before his elbow injury in 2010. People still say his debut in that season was one of their favorite moments in Nats’ regular season history.

While injuries kept him from any chance of a Hall of Fame spot, he was transformative to this Nationals roster the day he was drafted.

3. Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann represents a bridge between the early years and the first playoff success of the Nationals. His tenure (2009-2015) was marked by a notable achievement: pitching the first no-hitter in Nationals history in 2014. Zimmermann’s consistent performance and resilience made him a beloved figure among fans and a key component of the team’s pitching rotation.

4. Gio Gonzalez

With a curveball as charismatic as his personality, Gio Gonzalez was a mainstay in the Nationals’ rotation from 2012 to 2018. His tenure was characterized by clutch performances and significant contributions to the team’s postseason appearances in the MLB. Gonzalez’s ability to deliver in high-pressure situations endeared him to teammates and fans alike. He can often be seen back at Nationals Park as a fan these days.

5. Patrick Corbin

Since signing with the Nationals in 2019, Patrick Corbin has been a linchpin in the team’s rotation, especially during their World Series run. While he struggled in the subsequent years, he will always be appreciated for what he did in 2019. Known for having one of the most effective sliders in baseball, Corbin has demonstrated versatility and grit, contributing both as a starter and a reliever, showcasing the depth of his commitment to the team’s success.

6. Mike Marshall

While Mike Marshall’s tenure with the Expos predates the Nationals, his impact on the franchise’s pitching legacy is undeniable. As one of the most durable and effective relievers of his time, Marshall’s innovative approach to pitching and workload management left a lasting impression on the sport and set a precedent for future generations of pitchers in the Nationals organization.

7. Charlie Lea

Charlie Lea, another standout from the Montreal Expos era, etched his name in history by pitching a no-hitter in 1981 for the Expos. His achievements during his time with the Expos contributed to the rich pitching heritage that the Nationals inherited. Lea’s prowess on the

mound and his role in the team’s history are a testament to the enduring legacy of the franchise’s pitchers.


The story of the Washington Nationals is inextricably linked to the performances of its pitchers. These seven athletes, through their extraordinary talents and contributions, have not only defined the team’s successes but have also inspired future generations. From Scherzer’s fiery competitiveness to Strasburg’s surgical precision and Corbin’s adaptability, each has played a pivotal role in the fabric of the franchise.

Their stories are a reminder of the impact that exceptional pitching can have on a team’s fortunes. As the Nationals continue to build and evolve, the legacies of these pitchers will remain a cornerstone of the franchise, inspiring both current players and fans. In the realm of baseball, where every pitch can alter the course of history, these seven have left an indelible mark on the Washington Nationals, crafting a legacy that transcends the diamond.

This entry was posted in PItching. Bookmark the permalink.