The Nationals have had their fair share of injuries this season while playing in the MLB. All-Star starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg has been on the injured list the entire season with a right shoulder injury and OF Victor Robles has missed 21 games and is on the IL with a back injury. Neither player has a timetable for return.
The Nationals have shown some signs of progress. DH Joey Meneses leads the team in multiple categories and OF Lane Thomas leads Washington in home runs, total bases but also strikes out the most. And right-handed pitcher Josiah Gray has been a bright spot in the starting rotation. He is 4-5 but is the rotation’s WAR leader (2.0).
Washington Nationals key players
- Joey Meneses: Meneses leads the team in hits and RBI but has just two home runs
- Josiah Gray: Gray is a young right-handed pitcher with a lot of upside. He is 4-5 with a 2.77 ERA but his xFIP is two runs higher than his ERA
- Keibert Ruiz: Ruiz is a young catcher with a lot of talent. He is batting .225 with five home runs and 20 RBIs this season
- Lane Thomas: Thomas is a solid outfielder batting .290 with eight bombs and 26 RBI but also a team-high 59 strikeouts
- Jeimer Candelario: the Nats 3b is batting .259 with six home runs and leads the team in doubles
- Dominic Smith: Smith is hitting .276 with just one dinger and 14 RBI
- CJ Adams: Adams is a young shortstop batting .237 with five home runs and 29 RBI
- Mackenzie Gore: Gore is 3-3 with a 3.57 ERA and a team-high 74 strikeouts as a starting pitcher
- Kyle Finnegan: The Nationals closer has 11 saves but two blown saves
- Hunter Harvey: Harvey has ten holds but leads the team with four blown saves
Washington Nationals offense
Washington is 14th overall, and their wRC+ 95 doesn’t look that bad compared to the National League’s lower half. The Nats bats have crushed the fewest bombs but have driven in the 11th most runs. Their team’s .312 BABIP could suggest some possible positive regression, and if Robles comes back and OF Alex Call can get a few hits, this offense could be sneaky good.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) May 31, 2023
Washington Nationals starting pitching
The Nationals starting rotation is mediocre, with the 11th-best team ERA, but their 4.74 xFIP indicates Washington has been lucky and probably the 14th-best in the National League. Strasburg would’ve been a big help, but he likely won’t return for the foreseeable future. Gore, Gray, and Jake Irvin are each walking north of four hitters per nine, and veteran Patrick Corbin has flashes of brilliance one day, and the next gets lit up.
The extra 10 Ks are silent. pic.twitter.com/d1VElnPiaF
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) May 28, 2023
Washington Nationals bullpen
The Nationals bullpen is last in the National League in numerous sabermetric categories and last in xFIP (4.69) and WHIP (1.39). Washington is 8th in holds, but their league-worst 12-blown saves have been the season’s story. Carl Edwards Jr has a team-high 11 holds but two blown saves, thanks partly to a dozen walks over 22.2 frames. Harvey has been good, but he’s not a closer, and Finnegan has 11 saves but is coughing up nearly two home runs per nine innings pitched.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) May 25, 2023
Washington Nationals outlook
The Nationals are 9.0 behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East Standings, and they are a rebuilding team, as their 23-32 record suggests. Washington has a losing record against their East division rivals and, in all likelihood, will finish last in the division and miss out on the playoffs. The offense has been good enough to win games. Still, the bullpen and inconsistent starting rotation makes it difficult to see Washington anything other than finishing last in the National League East.