2021 Roster Review: Washington Nationals

65-97 (5th in Division; 25th in MLB)

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SP Wins: 42 (17th)

RP Wins: 23 (2nd)

Saves: 36 (22nd)

1+ Save: 4 (Brad Hand 21, Kyle Finnegan 11, Tanner Rainey 3, Paolo Espino 1)

100+ Ks: 4 (Max Scherzer 147, Patrick Corbin 143, Erick Fedde 128, Joe Ross 109)

.260+ AVG (min. 350 PA): 5ish (Trea Turner .322, Juan Soto 313, Josh Harrison .294, Alcides Escobar .288 – in 349 PA, Josh Bell .261)

65+ Runs: 3 (Soto 111, Bell 75, Turner 66)

65+ RBI: 2 (Soto 95, Bell 88)

10+ HRs: 5 (Soto 29, Bell 27, Kyle Schwarber 25, Turner 18, Ryan Zimmerman 14)

5+ SBs: 4 (Turner 21, Soto 9, Victor Robles 8, Harrison 5)

BEST BUY: Lane Thomas

Thomas had a fantastic third of a season after being traded for Jon Lester. He posted a 127 wRC+ with 7 HR and 4 SB in 206 PA and should be in line for a full-time role with the Nationals in 2022. He is 26 with a collection of league average or better skills at the dish as well as plus speed and plus defense in the corners annnd a great opportunity at playing time. Soto is the only locked in outfielder for the Nats heading into 2022.Thomas is a bit platoon heavy favoring his work against lefties, but if he can maintain some at or better than the .715 OPS he had versus righties with Washington, then he can avoid a short-side platoon.

ON THE RISE: Keibert Ruiz

The blue-chip prospect came over in the Max Scherzer deal and was essentially a league average bat (102 wRC+) in 89 PA, showing off his contact-heavy profile with just a 5% K rate. He didn’t bring the power we saw in Triple-A (.320 ISO w/LAD in 231 PA, .269 w/WAS in 85) with just a .111 ISO and 2 HR, but that’s not his calling card anyway. I would gladly take 9-13 HR with a .260+ AVG in 420ish PA.

OFF THE RADAR: Austin Voth

Voth has been a super deep league target (a 50-round Draft & Hold type of pick) for me the last couple years, but nothing has really come of it outside of some glimpses at his upside. He has a solid 16% K-BB rate in the first half but was down to just 8% in the second half. He was throwing at a career-high 94.2 mph this year and has a 3-pitch mix that can survive in the rotation. There should be a chance for the 30-year-old righty to get some starts if he can tighten up his command and corral his home run issue.

HOT TAKE: Luis García breaks out with a .280 AVG/25 HR/7 SB line in 2022.

Let’s be honest, he is more likely a 2023 breakout as he is still just 22 (or he will be next year) and hasn’t shown anything at the big-league level yet (79 wRC+ in 386 PA). He was excellent in a 37-game sample at Triple-A (154 wRC+), but that is a pretty scant sample to bet on for a breakout especially when it was buoyed by a 37% HR/FB rate. Some players take the leap, though, because as we know – say it with me – “prospect growth isn’t linear!” He makes good contact and has flashed plus pop so I’m open to gambling on him late in case he jumps this year.

ICYMI: Josh Bell was elite from June 1st on with a 134 wRC+ that was tied for 21st highest along with a .282/.376/.506 line, 20 HR, and 66 RBI in 415 PA.

IF THE DH RETURNS: Yadiel Hernandez tapped into his pop once he was in the lineup regularly starting around the trade deadline with a .169 ISO and 109 wRC+ in 193 PA. He has dominated the minors and could definitely smack 25 HRs in ~500 PA.





Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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Joe Wilkey
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Joe Wilkey

Josh Bell also gained OF eligibility in most leagues near the end of the year, which adds at least a little something to his value, especially in OttoNeu leagues.