MLB Year in Review: Washington Nationals

From first to worst in the Major Leagues.

All-Star Stephen Strausburg delivers a pitch at home.

All-Pro Reels/Patrick Rouin

All-Star Stephen Strausburg delivers a pitch at home.

Matty Hauth, Copy Editor

As far as 2022 goes, the Washington Nationals of the National League East would probably prefer to forgive and forget.


During the 2019 season, the Nationals made a shocking run after starting their year with an abysmal 19-win and 31-loss record, placing them in 14th place in the 15-team National League. 


By the end of the season, their record was 93-69, which was good enough for a Wild Card placement. After three insane playoff series, the Nationals recovered from a 2 game deficit to beat the Astros in 7 games during the World Series, earning the first championship in franchise history.


From this point forward, the Nationals had very little to celebrate. 


From October of 2019 through March of 2022, the Nationals’ largest acquisitions included re-signing World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg, trading for first baseman Josh Bell from the Pirates, signing outfielder Kyle Schwarber, and signing designated hitter Nelson Cruz.


During this time, however, the losses outweighed the gains, including trading ace starting pitcher Max Scherzer and All-Star shortstop Trea Turner at the 2021 trade deadline. Losses like these largely contributed to the cumulative .410 winning percentage across the 2020 and 2021 seasons, as well as a .340 winning percentage entering August of 2022.


As for the 2022 season as a whole, the Nationals were expected to win 69 games, led by phenom Juan Soto. Instead, the Nationals are currently on pace for 54 wins as of Aug. 29, and have since traded Soto to the playoff-hopeful San Diego Padres.


After trading most of their star power over the past few years, the Nationals did bring in plenty of prospects, placing them fifteenth on MLB’s midseason farm system rankings conducted on Aug. 23.


Led by 3 outfield prospects and one pitcher featured in MLB’s top 100 prospect ranking, the Nationals have slowly begun gearing up for competitive seasons again, with their major league club having massive holes up and down the lineup card.


One significant statistic used throughout baseball is Wins Above Replacement, commonly abbreviated to “WAR”. MLB average, for both regular position players and starting pitchers, is 2.0.


As of Aug. 29, only 7 current Nationals have an offensive WAR greater than 0, none are greater than 1.5, and 5 have played the entire season with the team.


With the season’s progress, there’s no telling what the Nationals’ future may hold. Sure, they won’t contend for a very long time on paper, though the same could have been said 50 games into 2019.


The chances of the Nationals achieving success in the near future despite trading generational talent in Soto and Scherzer looks bleak at best. The best chance for the Nationals lies in their youth, much like the Astros in the mid-2010s. 


Get low draft picks, sign mid-tier free agents, and build team chemistry. If the Nationals are able to piece together these critical pieces, success will follow.