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Nationals Make Roster Moves Before Regular Season

On Friday afternoon, the Washington Nationals announced numerous roster moves as Grapefruit League play ends. These moves included keeping certain players on the main ballclub, as well as moving players down to minor league camp.

One of the more unsurprising announcements was the three main prospects of Dylan Crews, James Wood, and Brady House getting re-assigned to minor league camp, along with other players like pitchers Richard Bleier and Joe La Sorsa, first baseman Juan Yepez, outfielder Robert Hassell III, and catcher Israel Pineda. Pitcher Zach Davies was unconditionally released.

Wood had a stellar Spring Training, as he had a dominant first week and a .342/.491/.707 slash line in 21 Grapefruit League games, including a team-high four home runs. The 21-year-old outfielder is expected to open the season at Triple-A Rochester, as he could possibly make his major league debut in the middle of the season.

Bleier will also report to Triple-A Rochester, according to Nationals manager Davey Martinez, making the veteran left-hander very likely to be called up if he needs to.

Crews and House also had some positive moments this spring, with Crews hitting a walk-off single to beat the Minnesota Twins this past Thursday afternoon. However, Crews finished with a .161/.297/.323 slash line in 19 games, while House went 7-for-28 at the plate with one homer, zero walks, and five strikeouts.

The team hasn’t yet announced minor league rosters, but Crews and House could return to Double-A Harrisburg, where they finished the 2023 season, before getting promoted to Triple-A with the possibility of major league debuts later this season.

Davies was released by the organization after having a rough start on Wednesday night that increased his Spring Training ERA to 9.00.

However, there is just one top prospect who remains in big league camp: infielder Trey Lipscomb. The 2022 third-round pick had consistently strong performances in Grapefruit League play, slashing .364/.429/.523 at the plate, and playing at second base, third base, and shortstop in the field. According to Mark Zuckerman of MASN, Lipscomb has an opportunity to make the Opening Day roster, potentially supplanting Luis Garcia Jr. as the starting second baseman.

Washington now has 31 healthy players left, including three catchers, eight infielders, six outfielders, five starting pitchers, and nine relief pitchers. The starting lineup is projected to include catcher Keibert Ruiz, infielders Joey Gallo, Joey Meneses, Garcia, and C.J. Abrams, and outfielders Lane Thomas, Victor Robles, and Alex Call.

Other position players in backup spots are catchers Riley Adams and Drew Millas, infielders Lipscomb, Nick Senzel, Ildemaro Vargas, and Rule 5 draftee Nasim Nunez, and outfielders Jacob Young, Jesse Winker, and non-roster invitee Eddie Rosario.

The starting rotation is expected to consist of Josiah Gray, Patrick Corbin, MacKenzie Gore, Jake Irvin, and Trevor Williams, which was basically the same rotation as it was most of last year. In Grapefruit League play, Gore led the team in strikeouts with 19, while Corbin had a team-high two wins.

Five right-handed relievers that appear to be safe are Kyle Finnegan, Hunter Harvey, Dylan Floro, Tanner Rainey, and Jordan Weems, while four veteran relievers compete for three spots, as Robert Garcia, Derek Law, Jacob Barnes, and Matt Barnes hope to make a difference for Washington.

Harry Lichtman
Harry Lichtmanhttps://mlbreport.com/
Washington Nationals Beat Reporter | Frostburg State University Class of 2018 | Resident of Potomac, MD


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