We've gotten a bit spoiled in this franchise with a number of players who took steady routes to stardom (or "everyday playerdom") without major detours. Strasburg, Zimmerman, Zimmermann, Espinosa, Storen, Harper, Clippard after the trade, maybe others I can't think of. Besides injuries, those guys just kind of chugged along to their peaks (or are in the process of doing so currently).
But I think it's just as common for talented players to kind of zig and zag their way along - kind of like Desmond, Detwiler, maybe even Stammen. So it wouldn't surprise me at all if Ray or Hood took a major step forward this year, or if Skole or Goodwin took a step sideways. It's not supposed to work as smoothly as it has for the Nationals over the past 4 years or so.