Three Nationals Players On Roster Bubble Who Deserve A Shot In 2024

The Nationals have had a pleasantly surprising season, but not everyone who contributed to the 2023 campaign is guaranteed to return in 2024. Here are three players who deserve an extended look.
Chicago White Sox v Washington Nationals
Chicago White Sox v Washington Nationals / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages
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Jacob Young

Jacob Young
Washington Nationals v Milwaukee Brewers / Kayla Wolf/GettyImages

When talking about roster cuts, I included Alex Call for various reasons, but one of which was the emergence of Jacob Young. And before you freak out over his inclusion as a "roster bubble" player, remember this is an advocation for Young to stick around. In no way do I think the Nationals are close to giving up on him.

Jacob Young has had a meteoric rise through the Nationals' system, going from High A Wilmington all the way to the Nationals 25 Man Roster in a single calendar year without skipping a level. He got off to a great start to his Major League career after going hitless in his first game, as he rattled off an 11 game hitting streak. Young has since cooled off at the plate, as his numbers have dropped to a .651 OPS with a .239/.314/.337 slash line.

The offensive production needs to improve, but where Young really provides value is on the defensive side of the ball as he is a well above average Centerfielder. A skillset like his is at worst the makings of a 4th outfielder, and if his bat can improve to a mid .700s OPS, then you have a starter on this current roster.

It is important to remember Young is (no pun intended) young, and despite his impressive Minor League numbers, it is natural to take some time to adjust to Major League pitching. His inclusion on this list is really based on the idea that the Nationals will bring back Victor Robles (not a guarantee) and Stone Garrett (likely), which would give them a starting outfield of Stone Garrett, Victor Robles and Lane Thomas in Left Field, Center Field and Right Field respectively. Young deserves a chance to stick around as this team's 4th outfielder and a late game replacement for Stone Garrett, a strategy Davey Martinez employed frequently throughout the season.

I also included Young on this list because I do expect both James Wood and Dylan Crews to debut for the Nationals at some point in 2024, which would create a logjam in the Nationals' outfield. I am rooting for Young and think he should stick around with the Nationals Major League roster in 2024, regardless of other potential shuffling.

Honorable Mention: Drew Millas

I think Drew Millas has really impressed in his time with the Nationals and given the Nationals a real possibility of carrying three catchers on their roster next season. Riley Adams will be recovering from his hamate injury and may need an extended rehab stint, but if he regains his form he provides value offensively and should be rostered. Millas on the other hand, is the best suited catcher to back up Keibert Ruiz as he is by far the best defensive catcher of the bunch. Too many valuable catchers is a good problem to have.