These NEW Nationals will turn heads this season
The Washington Nationals are in a place right now where we, as fans, aren't exactly sure what to expect from everyone on the roster on a nightly basis. Sure, there are some guys that we can make a relatively accurate guess as to their production, however there are just as many, if not more, that we don't have an idea about; especially some of the new guys.
These are players that are new to Washington that we believe will jump off the page and make some noise this season.
Sure, CJ isn't exactly new; he's appeared in 44 games as a National. However, as someone who many consider as the shortstop of the future in Washington, he's still relatively new and still has a lot to show.
Abrams was one of the headline pieces in the Juan Soto and Josh Bell trade with the Padres last August. In the 44 games he appeared in post-trade, Abrams played quite well; totaling 41 hits, 10 RBIs, 6 stolen bases, and posted a batting average of .258, which was above league average.
CJ Abrams gave us fans plenty of highlight material, enough to tide them over for his first full season in Washington.
Because of his short tenure here in DC, I feel that there are still plenty of fans who have yet to "meet" CJ, and will be pleasantly surprised at his production in his first full season donning the Curly W.
Gore was another sought-after piece that the Nationals brought back in the Soto/Bell deal. Not only his he new to Washington, he's also new to the majors.
Early this year, our own Reese Evans wrote a whole piece about Gore, here. If you want to read more about the Nationals' new lefty, you'll find all you need there. However, I'll summarize here.
The 2017 third overall pick spent his first season in the majors with the Padres in 2022, where he posted a 4-4 record, and a 4.50 ERA. His performances from last season don't tell the entire story, as there are plenty of reasons why the Nationals are excited about him. Unfortunately due to an elbow injury, Gore had his season was cut short due to an injury and has yet to pitch for the Nationals.
Gore was a highly touted prospect, and the Nationals think very highly of him. Enjoy this compilation of highlights, coming soon to the nation's capital.
Claimed off of waivers by the Nationals in December, the former member of the Boston Red Sox is coming off of a rookie campaign that wasn't exactly spectacular; posting a .154 batting average with six hits in 14 games.
Downs was the #2 prospect in the Red Sox system when he made his debut with them last year. Worth noting that even though he's in the majors now, he is ranked #29 in the Nationals system now.
However, I think Nationals' fans can expect better from Downs in his sophomore season. Downs is projected to post a .235 batting average with 47 hits next season. While not exactly earth-shattering numbers, I believe in the former top 100 prospect and that Downs' will indeed turn the heads of more than a few fans, and try to stake his claim as a member of our young infield for years to come.
Selected in the major league phase of the 2022 Rule 5 draft, Thad Ward is a 26 year old righty that will likely make his debut in the majors in the Nationals bullpen this season.
Originally a 5th round pick by the Boston Red Sox in 2018, Ward posted a 2.28 ERA and totaled 66 strikeouts in 13 appearances across Single A and Double A last season.
While he's certainly not a household name yet, don't be surprised if Ward makes a name for himself in the Nationals bullpen this year.
Arguably the most exciting part of the Nationals' season this year will be the development of the young guys that make up the future of baseball in Washington. Guys like CJ Abrams, Mackenzie Gore will get their shot this year and other guys like Robert Hassell, James Wood, Elijah Green, Brady House are guys on the horizon that will only make the future brighter when they make the majors.