The Nats offseason is in full swing, and rumors about re-signings and trades are in full force. Are Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon coming back? Who will play second base full-time next season? While these questions are more pressing and consequential than looking five years into the future to speculate what the Nats will look like, it’s time to get familiar with the Nats of the future, and this article is your guide.
For this mock roster, we are going to presume that Rendon and Strasburg both come back. Though neither of those scenarios are certain, it’s hard for us to imagine this team without them. The second is that we will not predict any trades or signings. We know that between now and 2025, the team will see a lot of change, but how could we possibly predict that?
Pitching Staff: Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, Jackson Rutledge, Wil Crowe, Mason Denaburg
If Strasburg was to sign a deal with the Nats, it is almost guaranteed he would stay for five years or longer. He will be older than Max Scherzer is right now, as he will enter the 2025 season as a 36-year-old veteran. Unfortunately for Scherzer, 41, we could not justify putting him on this list.
Corbin, 35, will be a seasoned veteran when he enters the 2025 campagin. With the way he has been playing, we probably won’t have to worry about him leaving for the next five seasons.
Here’s where the names get unfamiliar, as many Nats fans probably haven’t heard of the last three in Rutledge, Crowe, and Denaburg. These three are the third, fourth, and fifth respectively rated prospects in the Nats farm system. Crowe, who is expected to be called up at some point next year, was our second-round draft pick in 2017, while Denaburg and Rutledge were our 2018-19 first-round picks. All of these guys have plenty of potential and should be solid starters by at least the 2023 season.
Catcher: Israel Pineda
Catcher is probably the team’s current weakest position, as Pineda ranks 10th in the Nationals’ prospect watch. The 19-year-old has hit .217 with seven home runs in 374 at-bats with single-A Harrisburg in 2019. Thankfully for the Nats, Pineda still has time to progress and won’t be forced to start until — possibly — the 2025 season. With the age of our current catchers, there isn’t much chance they still play in five years. The Nats are known to sign rather than develop catchers, so Pineda may never even get his chance. The last time the Nats starting catcher was brought up through their farm system was Wilson Ramos in 2010.
First Baseman: Anthony Rendon
This one may surprise some, but Rendon, 29, is most likely to be playing this position in five years. Most third basemen end up transitioning to the other side of the diamond before their career ends. Take his teammate, Ryan Zimmerman, for example. Zim was an elite defender but had to change positions due to health issues. He made that transition in 2015 when he was just 30 years old. Even if Rendon is much healthier than Zimmerman, the odds he becomes the first baseman by 2025 is highly likely. Though his production will be down in five years, Nats fans can hope that he can be a mentor to the team’s younger players just like Zimmerman has.
Second Baseman: Carter Kieboom
Kieboom is one of the key pieces for the future of the Nats. He’s our team’s No. 1 prospect and one of the few with real big-league experience. Though he looked shaky in his 11 games in the majors, he wasn’t exactly given the greatest opportunity to succeed. In the time he was on the major league roster, the team was filled with injuries and was at one of the worst points of the season. Kieboom is one of the brighter spots in the Nats farm system and has the potential to be a star. Kieboom will likely be our starting second baseman next year, and then we will really be able to evaluate his talent.
Third Baseman: Luis Garcia’
Garcia is the team’s No. 2 prospect heading into 2020 and is on the MLB top 100 prospects list. His excellent arm strength is likely to spring him into playing third where he was during the 2019 Minor League season. Garcia’s “official” position is infield, but we think he is best suited for the role of an everyday third baseman. He is most known for his great contact hitting and excellent arm. Garcia will be 24 by the time the 2025 season comes around which gives him plenty of time to earn a starting spot. Garcia has been one of the team’s most productive Minor League players, hitting nearly .300 in two out of his three Minor League seasons.
Shortstop: Trea Turner
Trea Turner has set himself up to be the first true franchise shortstop since the team arrived in DC in 2015. He is already a champion, is a career .300 hitter, and is under team control until 2023. Turner has the ability to be our leadoff hitter until he retires if he can keep up the production that he has had since entering the league. Turner will be amidst his prime at 31 years old when the 2025 season rolls around, and we can only hope his production stays the same.
Outfield: Juan Soto, Victor Robles, Jeremy De La Rosa
Soto and Robles are both the future of the Nats. Soto is a bonafide superstar at this point, and Robles is already one of the league’s best fielders. They are both under team control through 2025 and are destined to be the faces of the franchise. Soto and Robles are a given, but the real wildcard here is Jeremy De La Rosa.
That leaves us with De La Rosa, the Nats No. 9 prospect who is currently playing in the rookie Gulf Coast League. De La Rosa is only 17 and has not shown much in the Minors so far after playing only 26 games. We are putting him on this list based on hype from when he was signed in 2018 as a 16-year-old from the Dominican Republic. He is praised for his speed, fielding ability, and contact hitting. De La Rosa is the biggest stretch of all the players on this list, but if Juan Soto can be a full-time starter at age 20, who says De La Rosa can’t do it himself.
That concludes the list of our 2025 Nats roster. By 2025, expect every player in this article to have reached the big leagues to make an impact — whether it’s for the Nats or another team.
(All Prospect stats are from the official MLB Prospect Watch)