The Washington Nationals Opening Day roster is set.
MLB and the MLBPA have agreed tentatively agreed to expand rosters from 26 to 28 until May 1. This is to allow for the condensed spring training which is only three and a half weeks long. With Opening Day set for April 7, the Nationals final roster was finalized earlier today.
During the lockout, we projected what the 26 man roster would look like at the time and were a bit off. Injuries, two extra roster spots, and a plethora of roster additions were the cause of that. Here are the Nationals finalized 2022 Opening Day roster.
Washington Nationals Starting Lineup (9)
Josh Bell (1B), César Hernández (2B), Alcides Escobar (SS), Maikel Franco (3B), Juan Soto (RF), Victor Robles (CF), Lane Thomas (LF), Keibert Ruiz (C), Nelson Cruz (DH)
Despite the NL East loading up on talent — the middle of the Nationals lineup should be able to hold their own. César Hernández leading off might not ooze confidence, but a 2-6 of Juan Soto, Nelson Cruz, Josh Bell, Keibert Ruiz, and Lane Thomas has immense potential.
After a disastrous 2020 campaign, Bell bounced back in a major way last year slashing .261/.347.476. With Cruz and Ruiz protecting him in the lineup, Bell is in a great position to build upon his 2021 success.
Keibert Ruiz has been on fire over his last two games — going 6-8 with two homers, and six RBIs. The 23-year-olds success will be instrumental in the Nationals returning to contention as soon as possible.
The middle of the lineup is the Nationals’ strength, but 7-9 raises plenty of question marks. Franco and Robles are coming off of the worst years of their careers. Robles in particular enters the season under the microscope — running out of opportunities to prove he’s part of the long-term plan. He continued to struggle this spring, but Washington needs his defense in the lineup. Fortunately, he ended spring training on a high note, going 2-2 with a single and a double.
Carter Kieboom’s injury has led way to Franco becoming the Nationals starter. Luis García was sent back to AAA for more seasoning and is still seen as a future cornerstone of the team.