Nationals' Opening Day 26-Man Roster Prediction

The 2024 Season is just a month away and the Nationals have some decisions to make for their roster. Who will make the cut and who will be left off come Opening Day?
Los Angeles Dodgers v Washington Nationals
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As the Nationals are beginning their Spring Training games, there are multiple positions which have several players who could fill them. As Spring Training progresses, it will be intriguing to see who steps up to try and break camp on the active roster with a surprise performance, especially with the presence of top prospects like Dylan Crews and James Wood in Major League camp.

Here is a projection as to how the Nationals' Opening Day roster might look:

1. Catcher (2): Keibert Ruiz, Drew Millas

Keibert Ruiz
Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals - Game Two / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

Keibert Ruiz will be the starter in 2024, joined by Drew Millas, who had a nice stint in September after Riley Adams fractured his left hamate, as the backup.

2. First Base (2): Joey Meneses, Joey Gallo

Joey Meneses
Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals / G Fiume/GettyImages

Meneses and Gallo will be splitting time at first base this season. Meneses will likely get more time at first base, at least at the start of the season, while Gallo plays left field as Stone Garrett recovers from a fractured left fibula.

3. Second Base (1): Luis Garcia

Luis Garcia
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Garcia will look to stay in the big leagues for a full season in 2024. He was optioned to Triple-A Rochester last August after struggling in the majors.

4. Shortstop (1): C.J. Abrams

CJ Abrams
Chicago White Sox v Washington Nationals / Greg Fiume/GettyImages

Abrams was electric during the second half of 2023, setting the team record for most steals in a single season. He'll look to build off his strong 2023 as the everyday shortstop for the Nationals.

5. Third Base (1): Nick Senzel

Nick Senzel, CJ Abrams
Cincinnati Reds v Washington Nationals / Rob Carr/GettyImages

After being non-tendered by the Cincinnati Reds in November, Nick Senzel signed a 1-year, $2 million deal in December. The former second overall pick will play third base every day, but has defensive versatility and can play the outfield and second base.

6. Outfield (3): LF Joey Gallo, CF Victor Robles, RF Lane Thomas

Lane Thomas
Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals - Game Two / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

As mentioned before, Gallo will likely play left field until Stone Garrett is healthy enough to play in the field. Robles was playing very well until he sustained a back injury, limiting him to just 36 games and ending his 2023 season prematurely. Lane Thomas, who ranked second in MLB in OF assists last season with 18, will be back in right field after a breakout 2023 season.

7. Designated Hitter (2): Stone Garrett, Joey Meneses

Stone Garrett
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Garrett fractured his left fibula last August and hasn't played since, so he will likely fill the DH role in the early part of the season until he is able to play the oufield. Joey Meneses will also see some time at DH, especially once Garrett returns to the field.

8. Utility/Bench (3): UTIL Ildemaro Vargas, OF Jacob Young, INF Nasim Nuñez

Ildemaro Vargas
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Vargas, who was given a 1-year extension last September, will have a super-utility role once again. He played every infield position, left field, right field, and even pitched last season, so he will be able to play wherever necessary. Jacob Young played pretty well while in the majors last year, making an impact both with his speed and with the glove. Nasim Nuñez was taken in the 2023 Rule 5 Draft from the Marlins, so he must remain on the active roster if the Nationals want to keep him in the organization.

9. Starting Pitcher (5): LHP Patrick Corbin, RHP Josiah Gray, LHP MacKenzie Gore, RHP Trevor Williams, RHP Jake Irvin

Josiah Gray
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Barring injuries or a surprise performance from someone like Jackson Rutledge or Joan Adon, the Nationals will have the same rotation as they had for much of last season. Non-Roster Invitees Zach Davies, Robert Gsellman, and Luis Perdomo are under-the-radar names to watch for who could break camp if a spot opens up.

10. Relievers (8): RHPs H. Harvey, K. Finnegan, D. Floro, M. Barnes, J. Weems, T. Rainey; LHPs R. Garcia, J. Ferrer

Hunter Harvey
Los Angeles Dodgers v Washington Nationals / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

The Nationals will likely start the season with most of their 2023 bullpen, with the addition of Dylan Floro, who signed a 1-year, $2.25 million deal in December, and Matt Barnes, who signed a minor league deal with the Nationals in late February. The Nationals like relievers who can pitch multiple innings, a role that will be fulfilled by Weems and Garcia, both of whom threw multiple innings on a regular basis in 2023. Harvey and Finnegan might share the closer role, at least early in the season.

11. Others to Watch: OF Jesse Winker, OF Dylan Crews, 1B Juan Yepez, 1B Lewin Diaz, 2B Darren Baker, RP Richard Bleier

Jesse Winker
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Watch these players as dark horses for roster spots. Winker signed a minor-league deal with the Nationals in early February and could provide some much-needed power to the lineup. Yepez and Baker are good depth players who could break out. Bleier is a veteran lefty who is a good depth option. Dylan Crews needs no introduction and will be competing for a spot on the roster, too.