Every year, there are players who are able to take the next step in their career and have a breakout year. Who could do that for the Washington Nationals?
One of the keys to running a successful major league franchise is being able to bring through and develop your own talent. The Washington Nationals are no different in that regard, so we look at some possible breakout candidates heading into 2019.
Last year, the leader of the breakout candidates was Juan Soto, and it wasn’t even close. The outfielder started the year in Single-A with the Hagerstown Suns, so nobody saw his meteoric rise coming quite this soon.
But he proved capable of showing maturity beyond his years and finished with a .292/.406/.517 slash line to go with 22 home runs and 70 RBI. Unfortunately, he couldn’t quite top it off with a rookie of the year award as Ronald Acuña had an equally remarkable year and took home the prize.
But it wasn’t just Soto who was able to break out, the Nats also had Spencer Kieboom, Justin Miller and Wander Suero make significant impressions last season. So we look at the next crop of players who might be able to make the breakthrough.
There’s a mix of players in this list with major league experience and those from the minor leagues and there could be more to come who sign on minor league contract later in the offseason. But we want to focus on the younger players here.
Let’s get the list started, and it’s probably the candidate that will not surprise anyone.