Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

2024 Draft Coverage: Early mock Drafts


Charlie Condon looks like the 1-1 pick … unless he isn’t. Photo via UGA baseball home page

Its never too early for a mock draft, and so of course the first 2024 mock draft links started popping up basically the day after the 2023 draft ended. I thought I’d throw out the first collection of Mock drafts now, ahead of the real draft scouting season, to show where things started and where they are now.

The Nats pick 10th this coming draft, thanks to the Nats falling into a very specific use case (non-revenue sharing teams cannot have a top-6 pick two years in a row), irrespective of where they finish or where they fall in the lottery, they will pick 10th. See Jim Callis‘s excellent explanation for why this is the case here. As we later found out … the nats actually won the lottery, then got picked again in the top 5, before settling into their 10th spot.

So, with that being said, we’ll try to capture the top 5 picks plus the 10th pick projection for all mocks for 2024 draft, if they go that deep.

Here’s a collection of the early mock drafts to get a sense of who is in the early running for the 1st round next year. We’ll follow this up with another mock collection as we get closer to the July 2024 draft.

  • ProspectsLive way too early 2024 mock 7/13/23: Konnor Griffin, Travis Bazzana, Chase Burns, JJ Wetherhold, Nick Kurtz. Nats at 10 get Florida’s two-way stud Jac Caglianone, which would be an absolute steal here, as we’re going to see later on.
  • Baseball America Dec 2023 post Draft Lottery Mock 12/8/23: Wetherhold, Kurtz, Bazzana, Caglianone, and Mike Sirota. Nats at 10 take Tommy White, slugging 3B from LSU. Would I be happy with White as a pick? I think he can hit … but i don’t think he can field. At all. He’s 1B/DH in the pros.
  • MLBPipeline 12/5/23: Callis and Mayo do a guess post-draft order: Wetherhold, Kurtz, Bazzana, Burns, Caglianone. Nats at 10 take White, as BA predicted.
  • Jim Callis 12/15/23 first mock: Kurtz, Wetherhold, Charlie Condon (who has blown up early D1 season 2024), Caglianone, Bazzana. Nats at #10 get White. I’m sensing a pattern here.
  • Joel Reuter/BleacherReport 12/22/23 Mock 1.0: Wetherhold, Kurtz, Condon, Caglianone, Bazzana. Nats at #10 take Tommy White, the fourth straight mock to take White.
  • Keith Law 3/7/24 top 50 Ranks (not mock): Condon, Caglianone, Bazzana, Wetherhold, Hagen Smith (pitcher from Arkansas who had 17ks in 6ip early spring). #10 is Tommy White, again.
  • Baseball America’s first 2024 mock 3/18/14: Condon, Caglianone, Bazzana, Burns, Smith. Nats at #10 taking Seaver King, SS/OF, Wake Forest. King is a new name we havn’t seen here yet; he played two years in Div-II before jumping to Wake and has made an impression. Tommy White is pushed down 9 picks in this mock due to his 2024 struggles.
  • Joel Reuter/BleacherReport 4/25/24 mock 2.0. Condon, Caglianone, Burns, Braden Montgomery (a switch hitting OF from TAMU who’s blown up in this spring), Bazzana. Nats at #10 take Trey Yesavage, East Carolina’s Friday night starter who’s described as a polished 4-pitch college starter who could zip through the minors and project as a mid-rotation starter. Someone like this would absolutely help the Nats pitching depth.
  • ProspectsLive 2.0 Mock 4/29/24: Condon, Caglianone, Kurtz, Bazzana, Konnor Griffen, a prep SS/OF who is high in ProspectsLive ranks but nobody else’s. Nats at #10 take Chase Burns in their mock, which i don’t really find credible at this point in Burns’ 2024 season.
  • Jonathan Mayo/MLBpipeline 5/3/24 mock: Condon, Bazzana, Caglianone, Montgomery, Kurtz. Nats at #10 take Burns over Yesevage. White falls to #20
  • Keith Law/the Athletic 5/15/24 Mid-May Mock: Bazzana, Condon, Smith, Kurtz, Caglianone. Law postulates that Cleveland at 1-1 could be looking to shave dollars off the slot value, and they’d thus take Bazzana and save a ton of money, or maybe even a mid-1st rounder to save $4M. At #3 He has Colorado taking best pitcher available. Nats at #10 take Konnor Griffen, the #1 prep player on the board, with a note that says the Nats have a new Scouting Group this year and may take the team in a different direction (aka, younger).
  • Jim Callis/MLBpipeline 5/17/24 Mock: Bazzana, Condon, Caglianone, Kurtz, Montgomery. Nats take at #10 Bryce Rainer, a prep SS from Harvard Westlake (same HS as Lucas Giolito). In Callis’ mock, the top two arms (Smith and Burns) go off just before the Nats pick, but they leave ECU starter Yesavage on the table to take a prep SS. I wouldn’t like this pick, but I give homage to Law’s comment about a change in the scouting department with the Nats.

Analysis at this point:

There hasn’t been a ton of change in the top prospects from July 2023 to May 2024, with the exception of one guy; Condon. For months we’ve talked about Bazzana, Wetherhold, Caglianone, and Kurtz. They’re most of the names mentioned in these top 5s. Condon’s 2024 explosion, combined with the fact that he’s not already mired to 2B (like Wetherhold and Bazzana) gives him a leg up. Caglianone is a 2-way guy, but almost everyone views him as a pro bat. Most of the pundits are saying this is a 9-man draft (awesome, since we draft 10th).

For months, the industry all pretty much assumed at first that the Nats would get LSU’s Tommy White. Boy, I bet White wishes he was in last year’s draft, b/c he would have gone top 10. Now his struggles and his defensive issues have him dropping like a stone. As of this writing 5/4/24 his statline for 2024 doesn’t come anywhere near his 2023 line (.332/.409/.642 this year versus .374/.432/.725 last year). I’m really hoping the Nats go pitching this year, and later mocks have two college arms in Burns and Yesavage falling right into the range where the Nats might take them. Both are Friday starters from big-time teams and have had top 5 projections here and there, and would be great at #10. However, there seems to be a shift in the strategy, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we ended up with a prep player.

Written by Todd Boss

May 17th, 2024 at 1:00 pm

Posted in Draft

MLB Pipeline Mid-season Prospect Update

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It’s just a matter of time before James Wood is slugging in the majors . Photo via Baseball America

Hot on the heels of Baseball America doing the same, MLB Pipeline boys re-did their top 100 and slightly changed their top 30 for the Nats. Here’s a quick post talking about their changes and why.

Here’s the new MLBPipeline top 100 (with Wood now ranked #5 overall) and here’s a link to the current state of the Nats top 30. I won’t repeat the top 30 here in table format, but i’ll go over what’s changed.

  • Flipped Wood and Crews at the top. No surprise here, just recognition that Wood has basically “solved” AAA so far while Crews continues to struggle in AA. Crew’s numbers have improved so far in May (.269/.375/.615), so that’s good.
  • For those clamoring for Wood to get promoted … who do you sit? That’s the real problem with the makeup of the MLB roster right now. Winker has cooled a bit but still has a 117 OPS+ playing in LF, and you need him to retain value in trade. Young’s been great in CF and it’d make no sense to sit him. I don’t think you can cut bait on Rosario yet, and Robles is now back and needs playing time too. Meneses is 1B/DH and may have already been let go if Gallo wasn’t hurt. So, who sits? Robles? do you cut Meneses and DH Wood full time? Well that makes no sense either. Honestly, we need an injury or a trade.
  • Morales and Cavalli swap spots at 4/5. I guess they’re hedging on how long it’s taken Cavalli to come back. Remember, Cavalli was routinely in the top 50-60 of all of the minors at the beginning of 2023 (including #58 in MLBPipeline’s rankings pre TJ).
  • MLB Pipeline has now “graduated” both Jacob Young and Nasim Nunez, ranked 18th and 19th respectively earlier this year. Young was graduated out on ABs in April, while Nunez is now graduated by virtue of Service Time thanks to being on the big league roster more than 45 days.
  • The two graduations left two spots open at #29 and #30; those have been filled with Armando Cruz and Andry Lara. These two are more than reasonable additions at this juncture. The highest ranked guys I have not on their list are Quintana (who’s hitting .192 this year so far) and Andrew Alvarez (who doesn’t scream “prospect” based on his stuff).
  • They did not modify Lipscomb or Parker’s rankings despite MLB success, indicating this was really just a quick peek at the top of each team’s list to make slight adjustments.

We still wait for Fangraphs Nats top XXX for 2024, which came out in June last year. Eric Longenhagen always has a unique take on prospects and we’ll give that the full writeup when it comes out. He’s already releasting teams so perhaps we’re going to be last alphabetically.

Written by Todd Boss

May 13th, 2024 at 11:59 am

Posted in Prospects

Baseball America May 2024 Updated top 30


Reviewing off-season ranks from pundits last winter was a ton of fun, culminating in my publishing my own ranks once all the major pundits had reported.

We’re now a month into the season, and the first of a few expected “mid season updates” have published. These are useful re-ranks that take into account promotions, graduations, injuries, and the like. So, here’s a reaction to the 5/6/24 Update to the Baseball America Rankings for the Nats.

Here’s the May 2024 rankings.

BA May2024 rankLast NameFirst NamePosition
1WoodJamesOF (Corner)
2CrewsDylanOF (CF)
4CavalliCadeRHP (Starter)
6RutledgeJacksonRHP (Starter)
7Hassell IIIRobertOF (CF)
8VaqueroCristianOF (CF)
10ParkerMitchellLHP (Starter)
11SusanaJarlinRHP (Starter)
12GreenElijahOF (CF)
13LileDaylenOF (CF)
15BennettJakeLHP (Starter)
16SykoraTravisRHP (Starter)
17HerzDJLHP (Starter)
19PinckneyAndrewOF (Corner)
20BrzykcyZachRHP (Reliever)
22HenryColeRHP (Starter)
25De La RosaJeremyOF (Corner)
28WhiteT.J.OF (Corner)
29AlvarezAndrewLHP (Starter)

In this post, i’ll highlight just those changes in these rankings from their Jan 2024 system rankings, reviewed here (all stats quoted were as of 5/8/24 and may be slightly different when you read this).

  • At the top, BA officially does what many others have been threatening to; switch Crews and Wood at the top of the ranking. Wood had a monster spring and is at AAA, while Crews has scuffled out of the gate to continue his poor AA career numbers (he hit .208 there for a month last year and is hitting .235 there so far this season). Meanwhile, Wood is destroying AAA pitching so far in 2024; current slash line .339/.444/.529. I think it’s more than safe to say that the current depth chart of outfielders on the 40-man roster (roughly: Winker, Thomas, Young, Robles, Rosario, Call, and Garrett) may be ready for a shake up the next time they have an injury. I’m not sure how much longer the team will stand for Rosario to hit .125 when they have a top-5 prospect in AAA with nothing more to prove.
  • Lipscomb bumped up from #16 in January to #9 today, and he may not be eligible for this list much longer. He’s already got 87 ABs this season and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere as a useful backup infielder. Meanwhile, Rule5 draftee Nasim Nunez has three (3!) total ABs this season, and if the team stays in Wild Card contention much longer I see his usefulness being exhausted pretty soon.
  • Parker bumped up from #29 to #10. Well of course he’s been bumped up. Show up in the majors as a mid-20s prospect on every sheet, shut down the Dodgers, shut down the Astros? Come on. Nobody saw this coming. I liked Parker a lot after seeing him in person last year and I could only push him into my mid 20s. Hopefully its not a complete mirage and he continues along an bests what most pundits saw initially; 4th/5th starter ceiling.
  • Susana jumps ahead of Green in the rankings. Not sure what Susana has done to merit jumping ahead of anyone, let alone being this high. So far in 2024: 5 starts, 16 innings, and a 5.51 ERA. Interestingly, his K/9 is way up and his BB/9 is way down … but they can’t let him throw more than 3 innings a stint? Meanwhile, Green continues to not hit in the low-A, with a .170 BA and 52 (!!) Ks in 25 games so far this year. I mean … unless the franchise has told him to swing out of his ass every time he gets up, this is just not good.
  • Nunez remains 18th on the list, with no movement up or down relative to where he was in January. Really?
  • Jacob Young, ranked 18th in January, has officially graduated from rookie eligibility/prospect status by hitting his 150th PA in April. Like Parker/Lipscomb he never really was a heralded prospect but is succeeding so far in the majors.
  • The rest of the list from 19 to 29 is identical from January.
  • To add in the new 30th prospect to replace Young, BA has added … Marcus Brown. Which is weird b/c they had a list of 8-10 “honorable mentions” after posting their Jan 2024 list, and Brown wasn’t on it. I guess they released this before seeing what Marcus did in High-A when he got promoted earlier this year (.129/.206/.145). In January their “31st”prospect was Andry Lara, who has looked awesome so far in 2024, so that doesn’t make much sense.

So, some movement for some players, but not a full overhaul based on the SSS of 2024.

Written by Todd Boss

May 10th, 2024 at 9:51 am

Posted in Prospects

Is this the Nats new 2011?


Trevor Williams has been found gold in 2024. Photo via Federal Baseball via USA Today

With a win against arch-rival and 1st place Baltimore on 5/7/24, the Nats have moved above .500 for the first time since 2021. The winning pitcher, fittingly, was Trevor Williams, who has gone from a 5th starter competition in spring training with the typical cattle call of veteran 1yr MLFAs to now sitting in the top 10 of all of baseball for pitchers in various categories (wins, W/L pct, pitcher WAR, ERA, FIP, and ERA+). Yes its SSS for Williams… but he looks great for now.

The team is playing .500 ball so far in 2024 without contributions from the following leading players the team depended on in 2023: Lane Thomas (hurt and ineffective), Josiah Grey (hurt, and ineffective), Jeimer Candelario (traded), and Stone Garrett (60-day DL). That’s 4 of the top 6 WAR producers from the 2023 season.

Instead, they’re getting the found gold of Williams, CJ Abrams stepping up in a massive way (that even MLB-general observers are noticing), Jesse Winker going from MLFA to top performer, Jacob Young shockingly hitting .300 in the majors a year after basically not even being a prospect, and Mitchell Parker more or less dominating in his first few MLB starts. It’s crazy, really. All of these guys could be first month mirages, or they could stick. And we’re now at .500 without Cavalli or any of our 1st round draft picks for the last 5-6 years, without our cache of top prospects, and by limping by on trade acquisitions and FAs.

But, my more salient point of this post is as follows. Here’s the W/L records of the Nats during a period of time more than a decade ago:

  • 2009: 59-103
  • 2010: 69-93
  • 2011: 80-81
  • 2012: 98-64

It doesn’t take that long to go from zero to hero. The team bottoms out in 2008/2009 which gives them top picks to get Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper in 2009/2010. They maintain a top10 pick after 2010 which gets them Anthony Rendon in 2011. All of these guys subsequently contribute to the run of success the team had throughout the entire 2010s, culminating with a WS title in 2019. And once the team looked competent enough to compete after 2011, Rizzo felt good enough to start cashing in lesser prospects to get the pieces we needed (think Gio Gonzalez, Adam Eaton, Doug Fister, plus the Trea turner/Joe Ross fleecing) and to start signing FAs to augment as needed (Werth, LaRoche, Haren … and eventually Scherzer).

So, the question is … are we now seeing the same pattern in 2024 that we saw in 2011?

Here’s our last few seasons….

  • 2022: 55-107
  • 2023: 71-91
  • 2024: we’re sitting at 18-17 … can we finish close to .500?

Here we go again. 2020’s poor finish netted us Brady House (oh, and Jacob Young). 2021’s poor finish netted us Elijah Green in the 1st (and Trey Lipscomb later on). 2022’s bottoming out gave us Dylan Crews. And the general post-2019 malaise allowed us to flip expiring contracts for a slew of players who are contributing now (Ruiz, Grey, Gore, Abrams) and a one particular player who will be contributing soon (Wood).

Imagine if this team does the right thing and cashes in on the players it should (i’m talking about every 1yr FA or expiring deal; that means Winker, Williams, Rosario, Robles, and Gallo). I’d move Corbin if we could get anything for him. Don’t make the same mistake they made last year in NOT trading Thomas and Finnegan and Garrett; get prospects now. By this time next year we’ll have an OF consisting of Young, Wood, and Crews, costing like a grand total of $2.6M (which is about how much we paid Corbin for his first three 2024 starts) and we can back them up with Call in the short term. Imagine if we could get a decent SP prospect or a new closer or a AA-level slugger for one of these 2024-one-year-wonders, someone who could contribute soon.

Can 2025 be our return to glory?

i’m just saying …. history repeats itself, and I see some very distinct patterns right now.

Written by Todd Boss

May 8th, 2024 at 9:57 am

Posted in Nats in General

End of April 2024 Check-in On the Rotations


Parker is the minor league success story so far in 2024. Photo via WP

Hello all. One of the recurring posts I did last year that I really enjoy doing (as long as I can find time to do it) is a monthly look at the state of the rotations of our entire system. Here we are one month in and a few turns through the rotations at all levels, and here’s the first of what hopefully is a season full of rotation (and pitching staff) recaps for the Nats big club and its farm teams.

Each team will have the same items: current rotation, changes in the last month, observations, next guy to get promoted (if its in the minors), next guy to get cut, and then a few comments about relievers.

Important links for this analysis:

We’ll start with the Majors.

Rotation as of 4/30/24: Irvin, Gore, Williams, Parker, Corbin

Changes since opening day: Grey on DL, replaced by Parker

Rotation Observations: Opening day starter Josiah Grey had two ineffective starts (8.1 IP and 13 runs allowed) before heading to the DL with a scary sounding “Flexor Strain” elbow issue that often is followed up by the dreaded Tommy John surgery. Adon got a spot start earlier in the month, but the timing of Grey’s injury with Adon’s workload meant that the team gave Mitchell Parker the call up, and boy has he delivered. In three starts he got wins over basically the two best teams over the last decade or so, has kept the ball in park, and has kept his walks down. Basically everything he didn’t really do in the minors. Crazy. Meanwhile, Trevor Williams has gone from 5th starter competition in spring training to basically our most competent starter: 5 starts, 2.70 ERA, and a FIP that matches his ERA. Gore has also looked solid, with peripherals better than his actual stats albeit with a few more baserunners per inning. Meanwhile, Corbin has done what we though he was going to do (6.82 ERA), as has Irvin (95 ERA+, basically a 4th or 5th starter performance). Irvin’s FIP is lower than his ERA, indicating that he’s been a little unlucky, especially when looking at his WHIP (1.18) and his BABIP (.303; not egregious but a little elevated).

Next guy to get cut/demoted: Corbin. it’s unclear how long Grey will be out, but he’s already doing 120 feet of throwing and may be doing bullpen sessions soon. That sounds to me like end of May return, which may (finally) spell doom for Corbin here. The only other possibility would be to send Irvin down, but that’d be really difficult to defend if Corbin has an ERA approaching 7.00.

Bullpen comments: the pen has generally been great. They blew Corbin’s great start last week, but overall has been solid. Tanner Rainey may be in trouble and is basically at the top of my “next guy to get cut” list right now. Same with Weems, who just is putting too many runners on base. Lastly MLFA Matt Barnes may also have a short leash, with middling numbers and no organizational history. Problem is, who replaces them? When we get to AAA, there’s not a ton of obvious candidates to come up b/c our 10 day DL is pretty full and the candidates aren’t exactly lighting it up down there.

AAA Rochester

Rotation as of 4/30/24: Adon, Rutledge, Watkins, Herz, Ward

Changes since opening day: Parker promoted up, replaced by MLFA long reliever/innings eater Watkins (Gsellman also got a couple of spot starts in April)

Rotation Observations: Herz has looked good, which is super promising for a team that’s lacking reliable starter prospects. Parker’s promotion over Adon and Rutledge, both of whom had MLB time last year, can be pretty easily explained by their performance so far in 2024: Terrible. Adon, with the benefit of a 4th option, has an ERA in the 8s and a whip in the 2s. He’s taken a step back from his 2022/2023 AAA numbers, and I don’t think he’s coming back anytime soon. Meanwhile, Rutledge has also taken a step back so far in 2024, averaging both a walk and a hit per inning while seeing his ERA bloat up to near 9.00. Ward has struggled in his conversion back to starter from sitting in the Nats pen all last year, and it makes me wonder if the team has him in the right role. I mean, he’s now 27, he’s in AAA trying to get stretched out, he wasn’t great in the pen last year … is he salvageable? Do you abandon his rotation presence and try to get him back as a useful middle reliever?

Both Watkins and Gsellman are what they are: 30yr old MLFA veteran arms who are hanging out to try to get another shot at the bigs, but who probably just sit in AAA all year and soak up innings while waiting for prospects to arrive.

Next guy to get Promoted: Herz. On the 40-man, easy promotion to cover for the next rotation injury.

Next guy to get cut/demoted: Adon. he’s eating up a 40-man spot, is now, what, 9th or 10th on the starter pecking order, he’s on his last option, and he’s not getting better. He’ll pass through waivers easily and get outrighted, so don’t be surprised if the next roster move is him. The rest of the starters in AAA aren’t really options to “demote” in that they either make it at AAA or they’re out of the rotation/gone.

Bullpen comments: Willingham (on the 40-man) has been good and may be a decent replacement for one of the faltering MLB relievers. La Sorsa (also on the 40-man) has not been good and is probably near the top of the DFA list. Rico Garcia has been AAA’s “closer” and looks decent. Adonis Medina has looked solid as the 8th inning guy. TJ Zeuch? not so much. 5ip, 14runs on 15 hits. ugh.

AA Harrisburg

Rotation as of 4/30/24: Luckham, Cuevas, Alvarez, Henry, Lord

Changes since opening day: Lord promoted up from High-A for Knowles, who I had in the opening day rotation but, based on his usage pattern from years past, probably was always going back to his LR/SS role.

Rotation Observations: All five starters have been generally good for the first month. 2023 Minor League POTY Alvarez has picked back up where he left off, albeit with some luck (he’s walked 12 guys in 18 innings). Cuevas has looked solid, which is great news in that he’s the youngest guy in the rotation at 22 and has already passed through rule-5 once. Lord’s got a 19/4 K/BB in 13 innings but is also giving up a ton of hits. Luckham’s not getting the K’s he needs and is getting by on a low BAA. Lastly there’s the “most important” arm in AA: Cole Henry. 4 starts, just 10 IP (that’s really cautious). 11/7 K/BB, but its only 10 innings, so its really SSS. I’d like to see Henry actually pitch a full game, or at least qualify for the win.

Saenz remains on the DL; he’d probably be in the rotation if he was healthy and I remain hopeful he can continue on his progress made last year.

Next guy to get Promoted: If they had to move up a starter .. i’d move up Henry. Maybe not on merit, but on talent/challenge level. None of the other starters are really making an obvious dominant statement to move up so far.

Next guy to get cut/demoted: Likewise, there’s no starter who’s really needing replacement. Lord is showing himself to be rather hittable (.316 BAA) but he’s also getting a ton of K’s. This to me perhaps says “reliever.” He’s also the only starter who didn’t start the year in AA, so it wouldn’t be a shock if he got dumped back to High-A.

Bullpen comments: Tyler Schoff continues to quietly work his way up the system; he’s yet to give up a run in 8 appearances/11 IP. Closer Nash Walters is probably too old for the level, but has also yet to give up a run in 2024. Knowles has been solid as usual in his swingman role. Orlando Ribalta is a fan favorite and continues to succeed. The only bullpen arm really struggling is Holden Powell, a college closer who’s never really impressed since his 2020 Covid year drafting. We have two relatively “important arms” on the 60-day DL; Zach Brzycky had TJ mid last year and may miss most of 2024, and 2018 3rd rounder Reid Schaller (who was effective in the AA bullpen last year) is on the “full season DL” already, which may spell trouble for him b/c he’s now 27 and probably becomes a 6yr MLFA at the end of the season.

High-A Wilmington

Rotation as of 4/30/24: Lara, Caceres, Young, Cornelio, Theophile

Changes since opening day: Lord got one start then got promoted up, replaced by Caceres.

Rotation Observations: Lara, Theophile, and Young have all been fantastic four turns through the rotation, each sporting an ERA in the 1s or 2s. Lara’s got the “worst” ERA of these three but a fantastic 37/8 K/BB ratio in his 23.2 IPs as a 21yr old. After watching Lara get socially promoted and constantly be the youngest guy at the level, he’s finally getting a chance to repeat a level and so far looks great.

Caceres and Cornelio? We’ll that’s another story. Caceres is the oldest guy in the rotation and has easily the worst numbers so far; 5.17 ERA, 8/10 K/BB in 15 innings. Cornelio’s ERA is in the 6s and he has 1-1 K-BB ratio and continues to show similar production to what he had last year. His time in the rotation may be nearing an end; i was surprised he made the rotation/got promoted from his stats from last year (a 4.68 ERA and 1.70 whip in low-A) and he’s not changing many minds.

Two important starters are on the DL here: Jake Bennett and Seth Shuman. Bennett is a 2nd rounder who had TJ last September, while Shuman continues to be unlucky health wise; he missed all of 2023 and now is on the 60-day DL to start 2024; he’s got solid career minor league numbers but can’t stay healthy.

Next guy to get Promoted: Probably Lara, even though he’s the youngest. He’s repeating High-A and has a live arm, and a 14 K/9 rate can’t stay in the rotation for much longer.

Next guy to get cut/demoted: Caceres; he’s just not getting enough Ks.

Bullpen comments: Their closer Todd Peterson is 6-for-6 in SVO without giving up a run. Marquis Grissom Jr. has been equally as impressive: 17/3 K/BB in 11IP. Arias, Zinn, Collins also pitching well for a solid-looking pen. I could see some promotions here soon, especially the 26-yr old Peterson, who’s way too old for High-A. Evan Lee got shredded for 9R and was released. 27-yr old 2022 Cuban IFA Danniel Diaz is struggling and may not be long for the organization. Same with his 24yr old 2022 fellow Cuban signee Marlon Perez, who has an ERA north of 9.


Rotation as of 4/30/24: Sthele, Sanchez, Atencio, Susana, Davis (with Sykora getting his debut on 5/1)

Changes since opening day: Sullivan out, replaced by LR/SS Atencio, with spot starts from Agostini & Polanco

Rotation Observations: So, following the Low-A rotation has been a little hectic so far in 2024. It has seen a ton of churn. Every turn through so far, we’ve replaced names in the rotation with LR/SS guys. I almost wonder if they’re doing a true 6-man rotation to cover the 6-game series the team is playing. The stalwarts though are Susana, Davis, Sanchez, and Sthele, and none of them are really pitching well. Susana continues to get lots of Ks, and give up lots of runs. Our big-armed prospect has 17/4 K/BB in 12 innings, but also has a .308 BAA and a 6.57 ERA. He’s not going anywhere of course, but it’s been a while since he put together a stretch that validated his prospect status. Davis & Sanchez have middling numbers, but decent BAAs that make me think they’ve been a little unlucky. Sthele has not looked good, striking out just 6 guys in 18 innings and four starts.

All three of the guys who i’ve got listed as “LR/Spot Starters” have better numbers than basically anyone in the rotation, and it may be just a matter of time before the likes of Tepper, Atencio, and Polanco get longer stretches in the rotation. Tepper (a 15th rounder last year) has been lights out: 20/8 K/BB in 14 long relief innings), while both Atencio and Polanco have gotten spot starts already, and i’m kind of surprised they’re not in the rotation more full time at the expense of some of these guys. Atencio in particular has 21 Ks and zero walks in 18 innings; he’s yet to walk a guy.

Two guys who were briefly in the rotation (Sullivan and Agostini) both went straight to the full-season DL. Agostini after one god-awful start, Sullivan after two solid starts. Agostini is only 19 and showed a bit of promise last year, so that’s a loss for sure. The 60-day DL already had two other guys who we would have expected to see in this year’s rotation in Tolman and Aldonis, and there’s two other starters on the 7-day right now (Amoral and Aldo Ramirez, who just can’t catch a break). That’s a lot of starters on the DL in Low-A.

Next guy to get Promoted: none of the starters are pushing for promotion; if I had to i’d move up Atencio for reasons already stated.

Next guy to get cut/demoted: Sthele or Davis. Sthele has worse performance but Davis is 24 and struggling in Low-A. That’s not boding well for Davis’ future.

Bullpen comments: Thomas Schultz has been solid as the closer. Moises Diaz has yet to really get touched in 8 relief innings. Bubba Hall has been crushing it as a 24yr old and probably needs a promotion.

There’s 12 arms on the Low-A DL right now, which is crazy. That’s an entire pitching staff. I wonder how many of those arms aren’t really “that” hurt and this is just the side effect we see of losing Short-A team. There’s not a ton of players at FCL/XST right now, so you can see what the team is preparing to do in the 2024 draft; stock XST with pitchers most likely.

Phew. There’s your April 2024 look at the pitching staffs.

Written by Todd Boss

May 1st, 2024 at 12:24 pm

First Look – Mitchell Parker


Mitchell Parker made his MLB debut in rather daunting conditions and came out with the win. Photo via Washington Post

Nats prospect Mitchell Parker got the call to come up and replace starts for the injured Josiah Grey, ahead of Joan Adon and Jackson Rutledge, who are both higher on the pecking order but each of whom had issues preventing them from getting the call. Adon hasn’t been back down long enough since his 4/10/24 option (though I think an option can be cancelled with no notice in case of an injury), and Rutledge took a come-backer off the ankle, leaving him a bit day-to-day. So Parker gets the call.

And, well, he delivered. Here’s the box score. 5ip, 4hits, 2ER, 4Ks, and zero walks. 81 pitches to complete five innings, and he got yanked instead of facing 2-3-4 in the bottom of the 6th.

Ok, first the good: to this observer, he looked composed and strong. He’s a big guy; this isn’t the kind of guy who depends on whippy arm action and who you look at his mechanics and say, “yup, TJ coming.” His mechanics are like a combination of Clayton Kershaw at the beginning and Andy Pettite as he delivers (look at the above picture and tell me you don’t see Pettite). He struck out Mookie Betts twice (!). He struck out Shoehi Ohtani (!!). He kept the ball in the ballpark against one of the best lineups in the game, and he didn’t walk anyone. The big knock on Parker is his BB/9, and to not walk anyone in a MLB game where he could have been trying to pitch around guys is solid.

A quick glance at his Pitch F/X data shows some interesting information:

  • Pitch FX didn’t give him credit for a “fastball” all night, which seems odd b/c he definitely threw a bunch. Therefore we don’t have any velocity metrics other than my memory. I saw FBs in the 92-93 range mostly, Maybe saw a 95 peak at one point, could be wrong. That’s not bad.
  • Pitch FX has him with this breakdown of pitches on the night: 64% slider, 2.7% cutter, 21.6% curveball, and 10.8% split finger. Now, does he have a “slider?” I didn’t think so; i think he has a curve. The slider and curve average velocities in fangraphs are 79.8 and 78.6 respectively, so yeah that’s not a slider.
  • His curve looked great. Obviously; its his best pitch. The split finger had some serious movement and was described as an “out pitch” … yeah, it looked unhittable, and uncatchable.

Now for the concerning: He gave up a lot of hard contact. The Dodgers didn’t have a “soft contact” ball all night (the Nats had 28% “soft contact” by way of comparison). A lot of Parker’s outs were “line drive to LF” and “Deep fly ball caught on warning track.” So, he might have been a little lucky to not have more crooked numbers on the board.

I also feel like he had a hard time controlling the fastball in the zone (that’s the “command” portion of command and control). 81 pitches broke down to 52 strikes, 29 balls. That’s not an awful ratio, but it also was a lot of pitches to get through innings. 81 pitches through five. I mean, yes that’s a lot. I’m not sure how many pitches he had by inning, but he probably would have needed another 20 to get through the 6th, given that he was facing the heart of the order. I think we’d like to see more efficiency there; I’d like to see a starter be in the 100 range by the end of the 7th so that they could push through to a theoretical 120 pitch limit if need be to finish 8 full, then hand off to a closer. Of course, the modern game now depends so heavily on relievers that if I can get a quality start out of a guy i’m ecstatic.

All in all, a very positive debut for the guy. Can he stick around? can he give us better innings that someone like Williams or Corbin? Maybe. Lets see how it goes for the next couple cycles of the rotation.

Written by Todd Boss

April 16th, 2024 at 10:17 am

Posted in Majors Pitching

Nats Opening Day Stats and History


One random little artifact I maintain for some reason is a collection of our Opening Day and Home Opener data. Now that we’re past both, here’s that information for review.

Home Opener Attendances through the years

  • 2024: 40,405 (4:05 tues game, 53, cloudy, slight wind)
  • 2023: 35,756 (105 thurs game, 45 degrees and sunny)
  • 2022: 35,052 (7:05 thurs game (pushed back from 4:05, then delayed to 8:21 weather. 52 degrees, cloudy, rainy)
  • 2021: 4,801 (4:05 tuesday game, 74 degrees, partly cloudy, 5mph wind)
  • 2020: 0 (7:09 thurs game, 90, partly cloudy, 7mph wind)
  • 2019: 42,263 (1:07 thurs game, 56, partly cloudy, no wind)
  • 2018: 42,477 (1:08 thurs game, 42, partly cloudy, slight wind)
  • 2017: 42,744 (1:05 monday game, 66 and cloudy, slight wind)
  • 2016: 41,650 (4:05 thursday game, 60 and 1.5hr rain delay)
  • 2015: 42,295 (4:05 monday game, 75 and gorgeous)
  • 2014: 42,834 (1:05 friday game, 50s and overcast)
  • 2013: 45,274 (1:05 monday game, 60 and beautiful)
  • 2012: 40,907 (1:05 thursday game 56, partly cloudy)
  • 2011: 39,055 (1:05 thursday game, 41 degrees and overcast)
  • 2010: 41,290 (1pm game monday, beautiful weather 80s and sunny): This was Phillies Invasaion
  • 2009: 40,386 (3pm game on a monday, chilly 53degr and overcast).
  • 2008: 39,389 (season and stadium opener), 8pm sunday night, Braves, nat’l tv clear but cold.
  • 2007: 40,389 (in rfk, 1pm game vs Florida, 72degrees
  • 2006: 40,516 (in rfk, tuesday day game vs Mets, 72degr and sunny)
  • 2005: 45,596 (in rfk, debut of entire franchise, 62degr and clear, evening game).

2024 was decent weather, compared to a few of these years. It’s amazing how we’ve had opening day be 41, and one year it was 90. That’s a 50-degree swing. DC Weather. It was good to see a bump up in attendance this year after the last couple of years, but it’s also a bummer to see how little the team has capitalized on its 2019 championship. Look, for example, what happened on Opening Day 2013 the year after the team won 98 games: it was damn near a record for the stadium (which, as far as I can tell, still remains 2012 NLDS Game 5, or the “Storen” game, of 45,966).

Home opener Results and Box Scores

The Nats are just 6-14 all time through 2024 in their home openers.

  • 2024: L 8-4, 40,405. attendance.
  • 2023: L 7-2. 35,756 attendance.
  • 2022: L 5-1, 35,052 attendance:
  • 2021: W 6-5: 4,801 attendance:,lock_state=final,game_tab=box,game=634624
  • 2020: L 4-1: 0 attendance:,game_tab=,game=630851
  • 2019: L 2-0: 42,263:,lock_state=final,game_tab=wrap,game=565895
  • 2018: L 8-2 42,477,lock_state=final,game_tab=wrap,game=529504
  • 2017:
  • 2016:,game_state=Wrapup,game_tab=box
  • 2015:
  • 2014:
  • 2013:
  • 2012:
  • 2011:
  • 2010:
  • 2009:
  • 2008:
  • 2007:
  • 2006:
  • 2005:

Nats Season Openers.
We are slightly better in Season openers: Record: 8-12. We’ve been home 12 times, away 8 times.

  • 2024: Away: Reds d Nats 8-2. WP: Montas. LP Grey (Starters: Grey, Montes).
  • 2023: Home: Braves d Nationals 7-2. WP: Luetge, LP Corbin (starters: Fried, Corbin):
  • 2022: Home: Mets d Nationals 5-1. WP: Megill, LP Corbin (starters same):
  • 2021: Home: Nationals d Braves 6-5. WP: Hudson, LP Smith (starters Scherzer v Smyly):,lock_state=final,game_tab=box,game=634624
  • 2020: Home: Yankees d Nationals 4-1. WP: Cole, LP Scherzer (starters same):,game_tab=,game=630851
  • 2019: Home: Mets d Nationals 2-0. WP: deGrom, LP Scherzer (starters same):,lock_state=final,game_tab=box,game=565895
  • 2018: Away: Nats d Reds 2-0. WP Scherzer, LP Bailey (starters same):,lock_state=final,game_tab=wrap,game=529420
  • 2017: home: Nats d Marlins 4-2. WP Strasburg, LP Phelps (Starters Strasburg, Volquez):
  • 2016: away: Nats d Braves 4-3. WP Treinen, LP O’Flarity (starters Scherzer, Teheran):
  • 2015: home: Mets d Nats 3-1. WP: Bartolo Colon. LP: Max Scherzer
  • 2014: away: Nats d Mets 9-7. WP Aaron Barrett, LP Familia (starters Strasburg, dillon Gee):
  • 2013: home: Nats d Marlins 2-0. WP: Stephen Strasburg. LP: Ricky Nolasco.
  • 2012: away: Nats d Cubs 2-1. WP Clippard, LP Marmol (starters: Strasburg and Ryan Dempster):
  • 2011: home: Braves d Nats 2-0. WP: Derek Lowe. LP: Livan Hernandez.
  • 2010: home: Phillies d Nats 11-1. WP: Roy Halladay. LP: John Lannan
  • 2009: away: Marlins d Nats 12-6. WP: Nolasco, LP; Lannan
  • 2008: home: Nats d Braves 3-2. WP: Jon Rauch. LP: Peter Moylan (Starters: Tim Hudson and Odalis Perez)
  • 2007: home: Marlins d Nats 9-2. WP: Dontrelle Willis. LP: John Patterson
  • 2006: away: Mets d Nats 3-2. WP: Glavine, LP: Hernandez.
  • 2005: away: Phillies d Nats 8-4. WP: Lieber, LP: Hernandez.

Written by Todd Boss

April 5th, 2024 at 3:37 pm

Posted in Nats in General

Four Full Season Rosters Now Available


2024 AAA’s opening day starter Joan Adon. 2nd year in a row he’s done the deed. Photo via

The four minor league full-season affiliate rosters are now available, and all four rosters are updated in the Big Board.

Thanks to Luke Erickson who found all the links directly and summarized them this morning at The MILB transaction pages aren’t updated yet. Direct links to each roster announcement:

Here’s some observations on the four rosters, dividing up outfield players and pitchers.

AAA non Pitchers:

  • The pushing down of both Alex Call and Jacob Young may have impacted the call-up of guys like Crews or Hassell, but probably not. I don’t think Crews “earned” his way to AAA based on his AA performance at the end of last season, but I also think he’ll work his way up soon.
  • I commented on the logjam of middle infielders on this roster at Luke’s site, but i’ll comment here again. So AAA has Alu (2B, 3B, LF), Kieboom (3B only), Baker (2B only), Dunn (SS and 3B), and Mejia (SS primarily) as its middle infielders. Alu is a 40-man roster player, so he kind of has to play. But if he plays 2B or 3B, then one or the other of Kieboom or Baker is sitting. If you put Alu in left field, then suddenly one of Call, Young, or Wood is sitting; that’s two 40-man players and our 2nd best prospect. So … where the heck are all these guys going to play? Are we just going to rotate them in and out of DH (so Blankenhorn sits)? It just seems like they need to make an adjustment here somehow. This will become a major issue soon if/when Brady House has to be promoted.
  • Millas the starter, Lindsly the backup Catcher. Lindsly continues to hang around.
  • The team retained Yepez and Blankenhorn to serve as 1B/DHs, they “beat out” a couple other guys in spring training and keep their hopes up of making their way to the MLB roster if and when we trade the likes of Gallo, Meneses, or Thomas.

AAA Pitchers

  • I posted about it when they all got optioned together 3/15/24, but the AAA rotation has been known for a few weeks now. Love it. First time (as i noted in the above link) we’ve had so many prospects in a AAA rotation in a decade or more.
  • The back-end of the bullpen includes at least two guys i’d keep an eye on: Jacob Barnes looked great in spring training, and 40-man member Willingham.
  • The rest of the bullpen in AAA is the expected collection of MLFAs, Waiver claims, etc. Tim Cate was at one point a prospect; maybe he can make it as a loogy (in as much as a “Loogy” even exists anymore with the 3-batter minimum rule).

AA non-Pitchers

  • Lots of prospects here. Too bad Harrisburg doesn’t visit my hometown of Richmond until very late in the season; i’d love to see the collection of 1st and 2nd rounders here.
  • Pinckney will take Woods’ spot in the outfield, to go with Crews and Hassell. I know many like Pinckney as a low-profile prospect, and he did get a NRI and got some ABs against major leaguers this spring … and looked really overmatched.
  • House still here, but … as per the above 2B/3B log jam, there’s really nowhere for him to go. Something is going to have to give, soon. House really should be in AAA.
  • Barley got demoted to be the starting SS in AA; he needs to hit more.
  • The rest of the bench are all 26-27 yr olds who are probably on their last lifelines; Wilson, Cluff, Arruda, Garcia, and Witt. None of these guys are really prospects; just org guys filling spots until guys earn their way up from High-A.
  • No Trey Harris anywhere, so he’s in XST land, either hurt or with the team trying to figure out how he fits in.

AA Pitchers

  • I’m guessing on the rotation, since most of the pitching staff on 2024 opening day was there on 2023 closing day. I think we’ll see Henry, Saenz, Alvarez, Cuevas, and Knowles. Obviously everyone’s got their eye on Henry, and if he starts out hot he might really force the Nat’s decision making process on what to do with Joan Adon in AAA in particular. I think its time for Adon to move to the bullpen, and a promotion could be the catalyst.
  • Also interested in 2023 pitcher of the year Alvarez, and to see if 22yr old Cuevas can push for a promotion mid-season
  • A couple of noteworthy relievers to watch in Sinclair, Schoff, and Ribalta. The rest of the AA bullpen are mostly over-age 27-28yr old/MLFA types who are now org-arms soaking up innings until they get released.
  • Where did Luckham go? He should be in this squad, perhaps he’s nursing an injury in XST because he didn’t get demoted to High-A.
  • Both Reid Schaller and Zach Brcycky are on the 60-day DL, seemingly out the entire year. Both are valuable back-of-the-bullpen arms who have performed well, and are one of the reasons it was such a cattle call for RHP relievers in spring training.

High-A non-pitchers

  • Because of the AAA->AA outfielder log jam. Daylen Lile starts in High-A again. He really needs to move forward, perhaps he’s still recovering from his scary Spring Training incident.
  • High-A has a log-jam of 1B/DH types that probably gets cleared up soon: Boissiere, Frizzell, Stehly, and TJ White only have so many ABs to share and all seem to play the same position. This may be the year that Frizzell and Stehly get cut; they’re both 25, both hit in the .230 range last year, and it may be time.
  • A couple of interesting middle infielders here: Infante was a 2nd rounder who hasn’t done much, and Kevin Made is very high on prospect lists.
  • The big name missing here is De La Rosa, who’s a top 10 prospect. MLBpipeline reported he has a “shoulder injury” right now. Great.

High-A Pitchers

  • I count Seven guys who were primarily starters last year in High-A; some of them are going to have to go to the pen. I’m guessing the team keeps Lara, Lord, Caceres, Theophile, and Luke Young in the rotation, sends Cornelio and Gausch officially to the pen, where they’ll join other former starters like Huff and Collins.
  • Not really much in the way of bullpen arms to keep an eye on here; if you’re already in the pen by High-A, it’s going to be really tough to make your way further up. Grissom, Marlon Perez two possible names to keep an eye on.
  • There’s a few high-A names completely missing that we should have heard about: Zinn, Cronin, and Lee. Zinn was a 2022 NDFA who’s had some success but who is off all the full season rosters. Cronin and Lee are both former 40-man lefties who have badly regressed, and may be in XST as a weigh-station before getting released.
  • Four Arms sit on the 60-day/all year DL already. Jake Bennett will miss the whole year after injuring his arm mid-season then waiting until September to get TJ surgery last year. Yet another 2nd round Nats draft pick who is in serious danger of not turning into anything. More interesting is Seth Shuman, who missed half of 2022 and all of 2023, now sits on the 60-day DL to start 2024. Great numbers, hasn’t pitched in nearly 2 years.

Low-A Non-pitchers:

  • Like the AA lineup, there’s lots of high-potential batters in Low-A. The middle of their order: Cruz, Vaquero, Quintana, and Green is something scouting guys can dream on. The rest of the lineup are mostly NDFAs and lesser prospects, kind of looking to see who can stick.
  • There’s a slew of guys here who are already 23 or 24, way too old for the level, and something will have to give (Baca, Dugas, Glasser, and Pimentel).
  • Brenner Cox made the team, which is great to see. Still hasn’t turned 20 yet.

Low-A Pitchers

  • Like with most of these lower end rosters, the 2024 opening day looks similar to 2023 closing day.
  • The rotation looks like its probably going to five from Agostini, Sullivan, Tepper, Polanco, Susana, and Sthele. If they go 5-man rotation it could be any of these who drops.
  • The bullpen is a mismash of IFAs, rule5s, and failed starters, most of whom are already 24.
  • Two big names not making it out of XST/FCL: Travis Sykora and Aldo Ramirez.
  • Four arms on the 60-day DL already, including two starters who have some promise in Aldonis and Tolman.

That’s it for now. I count 29 names “on” the FCL roster right now and another 16 in XST, which puts the domestic rosters way over the 165 player limit. So I’d imagine some cuts are coming at some point. Also, I have more than 50 names on the DSL roster, so i’d expect some serious shedding there come July.

Let the games begin!

Written by Todd Boss

April 2nd, 2024 at 4:01 pm

Opening Day Starting Pitchers Trivia for 2024


Grey gets the opening day nod for the Nats in 2024. Photo via WP

I have somewhat of an obsession with Opening Day Starters, and have tracked them on a spreadsheet for, well, for a long time. 20 plus years. I also love Opening Day Starter Trivia, which we’ll cover here in a moment.

Now that the 2024 Opening Day is past us, and I’ve updated the XLS for this year’s starters and done some housecleaning of now-retired starters, here’s some useless Opening day starter trivia for you.

My Opening Day Starter XLS is uploaded here to Google Sheets. It is also worth noting that Baseball Reference of course maintains similar information. Here for example is the canonical opening day list of lineups (pitchers and players) for the Washington Nationals franchise. And here’s the list of all 30 teams’ opening day lineups for the 2024 season, with similar data for all past seasons). I can’t quite find a similar resource to just the starters across all 30 teams, but I’m sure it’s there somewhere.

Ok, that being said, here’s some useless trivia related to Opening Day Starters:

  • First time Opening Day Starters for 2024: 14 of the 30, including our own Josiah Grey who takes over for Corbin, who had done the past couple. This number is down from last year’s 9 first timers, which was the lowest I had on record going back a decade. This number was artificially inflated a bit over what was expected due to spring training injuries to presumed opening day starters for teams like Aaron Nola, Gerrit Cole, and Sandy Alcantara.
  • Current active Leader of Opening Day Starts: Justin Verlander, with 12. He did 9 in Detroit, then another 3 in Houston. Others in the conversation are Kershaw (9), Scherzer (7), Julio Teheran (6), and Nola with 6 (see next)
  • Current Active Consecutive streak: Bieber in Cleveland with 5 consecutive opening day starts. Nola was the previous holder at 6 straight.
  • Current Leader of Consecutive Opening Day Starts: both Verlander and Kershaw at one point made 7 straight opening day starts for their teams, and are the current leaders in that category.

Historical records:

  • Most Opening Day Starts in History: Tom Seaver (16).  Tied for 2nd place with 14 is Jack Morris, Randy Johnson, Steve Carlton, Walter Johnson
  • Most Consecutive Opening Day Starts in History Jack Morris; all 14 of his starts were in a row, Mr. Durability.

Lastly, here’s some interesting team observations

  • Washington went a decade with just two different pitchers (Scherzer or Strasburg) doing the duty.
  • Texas, your defending WS champs: 8 different opening day starters in the last 8 years. And it’s even crazier than that: They’ve had 15 different opening day starters in the last 16 seasons, dating to 2009! Only one guy has repeated: Cole Hamels in 2016 and 2018. That’s amazing, that Texas basically hasn’t had a long-term Ace on their staff for nearly 2 decades.
  • Los Angeles Dodgers, despite being probably the league’s best team over the past decade or so, has had 6 different guys make their last 6 opening day starts, them the least consistent of any team. Interesting.
  • Other teams who have not really been able to find a consistent starter: Cincinnati: 5 straight different opening day starters. NY Mets: 4 straight different opening day starters. Baltimore: 8 different starters in the last 9 years. Tampa: 6 new in last 7 years. Angels: 7 new in last 8 years.

Written by Todd Boss

March 29th, 2024 at 2:37 pm

Posted in Majors Pitching

Spring Training 2024 NRI Disposition


Derek Law was with us so briefly i couldn’t find a picture of him in a nats uniform. Photo via

In an annual tradition that, unfortunately for the likely record of the team, seems to be pretty popular with the current incarnation of the Nationals, as we approach the end of spring training its time to start naming Non Roster Invitees (NRIs) to the 40-man/26-man active roster because they’ve made the team. This post continues the tradition of looking at the NRIs the team had this year and talking about how they fared.

Here’s past posts on the same topic by year: 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015.

So, who were the NRIs this year? We actually didn’t have that many, initially announcing on 2/15/24 a list of just 11 players (as compared to the cattle calls of 30+ NRIs of years’ past). Now, eventually we added a few others of note, as we always do throughout the spring, and apologies if i missed some (I’m not counting the slew of minor leaguers that were temporarily ‘assigned to Washington’ as NRIs), but here was the list of NRIs all told.

By position:

  • Starters: Davies
  • Righty Relievers: Bleier, Gsellman, J.Barnes, M.Barnes, Law, Perdomo
  • Lefty Relievers: La Sorsa
  • Catchers: Lindsley, Pineda
  • Infielders: Yepez, Baker, Diaz, House, Lipscomb
  • Outfielders: Crews, Wood, Hassell, Rutherford, Winker, Rosario, Blankenhorn,

When the Nats announced the 26-man opening day roster, we had a slew of NRIs who made the team.. Here’s the 2024 Opening day NRIs to make roster and the circumstances behind each:

  • Matt Barnes: Signed on 2/17/24, just after the initial Nats announcement, and who outpitched some other Nats relievers during spring and made the team. He was Boston’s closer in 2021, but now will slot in as a 6th/7th inning guy. Not a bad pedigree to have, and could be useful if he can keep his ERA down as a trade piece mid-season.
  • Eddie Rosario earned a spot on the team ahead of Call and Young, somewhat surprisingly, and gets a chance to rebound a little bit. He was basically a starter for Atlanta last year and wasn’t bad; 100 ops figure and 20 homers for a playoff team. How was he a MLFA? crazy. Anyway, he’ll slot in as starting LF, while Young returns to AAA despite his performance last year. Call rockets to the top of my “next guy to get cut” list, now that he’s seemingly 7th out of 7 outfielders on the 40-man with a slew of OF prospects rising fast.
  • Jesse Winker was an all star two years ago when he put up a scathing 143 OPS season, can play a little RF, and probably mixes in with Meneses into the DH. He’s all lefty. I wonder who actually starts between him and Rosario; Winker has better up-side and is younger, but Rosario was better in 2023.
  • Derek Law won the last bullpen spot, beating out a couple of other of NRIs and some of our bullpen holdovers from 2023.

Now for some discussion on a few of the players who did NOT make the team as NRIs ( by category)

  • Starters: Davies: was given full opportunity to go head to head with Trevor Williams for the 5th starter spot and did not earn it. Released on 3/22/24 with a few days to go in Spring when it became clear.
  • Righty Relievers: some of the veteran FA MLFAs/NRIs like Perdomo, Bleier, Gsellman, and Jacob Barnes competed and lost out to others. Perdomo was released on 3/24/24, probably because he was going to refuse the AAA assignment. The others remain to be seen whether or not they take the assignment to AAA. Jacob Barnes in particular pitched really well, but seems to have lost out in a h2h competition with Matt Barnes (no relation).
  • Lefty Relievers: La Sorsa was probably never really in the mix to beat out Robert Garcia, but when Ferrer hurt his back the chance was there. We picked him up on Waivers last year and he’s likely to be a solid option in 2024.
  • Catchers: neither LIndsley or Pineda were really in the mix to make the team, especially Pineda, who we just snuck through waivers and now can keep off the 40-man but in the system. You always need extra catchers in spring training.
  • Infielders: House the obvious top-end prospect, but the Nats MO isn’t to give opening day spots to these guys when you can bury them for a little while to get a year. Repeat this for Wood and Hassell later on. Baker and Lipscomb are lesser heralded prospects, but both seem like they’ve got a future with this team. Lipscomb was the last guy cut, really pushing for a spot at the expense of Rule5 guy Nunez, or maybe even the lackadasical Luis Garcia. So you can put Lipscomb on the short list of guys who are probably coming up soon. Yepez and Diaz were in the category of “big bats off the bench” competition and seem to have lost out to the likes of Rosario and Winker here.
  • Prospects Wood and Hassell probably up to get reps with their very-soon-to-be future teammates. Blankenhorn and Rutherford both hit well last year and re-signed; they’re good corner 1B/LF/DH type reserves to have in AAA.

Which of the rest of the NRIs might we see this year? We probably will see some of the RH relievers who stick around, its likely we get MLB debuts in 2024 from Crews, Wood, Lipscomb, maybe Baker.

Written by Todd Boss

March 27th, 2024 at 9:19 am

Posted in Nats in General