Washington Nationals 2023 Season Recap

Nationals Park

As quickly as the season began, the 2023 MLB season ended for the Washington Nationals. What was a feel-good, progressive season for the ball club.

The 2023 Nationals had the lowest expectations of any ball club this year and over the past four seasons. They finished 2022 with a 55-107 record and last overall in MLB batting, pitching, and fielding. The offseason did not bring in any blockbuster signings. Still, many players were attempting a resurgence of their careers, such as first baseman Dominic Smith, third baseman Jeimer Candelario, and right-handed pitcher Trevor Williams.

The Nationals finished the first half of their season with a 36-54 record, already better than expected. They finished the season with a 71-91 record, 16 more wins than 2022. Many young stars shined and made names for themselves this season. Shortstop CJ Abrams stood out among the crowd. Abrams took advantage of the new bases rule and stole 47 bases, the most in a single season in Nationals history. Abrams went from hitting 8th & 9th in May to Leading off in August. When Abrams was traded to the Nationals in 2023, he did not hit any home runs in the Curly W. In 151 games, Abrams slashed 18 homers, driving in 64 with a .245 average. However, Abrams did lead MLB in errors with 22. The team traded Juan Soto and Josh Bell last season to acquire most of their 2023 pieces; this season, Mike Rizzo only shipped off one player as Jeimer Candelario began to have an all-star-type season. In return, the Nationals acquired left-handed pitcher DJ Herz and Shortstop Kevin Made. Herz looks like a steal; he pitched to a 2.55 ERA and 53 strikeouts in eight starts.

There were many notable players throughout the season; three stand out as their team MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year.

Lane Thomas
(John Bazemore/AP)

MVP – Outfielder Lane Thomas: Nationals’ fans will never forget Lane Thomas’ big-league story. The 28-year-old outfielder was acquired in 2021 for left-handed pitcher Jon Lester. Thomas led the team in almost every major category in 2023, leading the team in hits (168), home runs (28), and runs (101), and placed 2nd in RBI behind DH Joey Meneses. Thomas also surprisingly led MLB in outfield assists (18.)

National Gray
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Cy Young – RHP Josiah Gray: The Lone all-star for the Nationals, right-handed pitcher Josiah Gray had a solid junior season. The young righty started 30 games and held a 3.91 ERA, giving up 69 runs and 22 home runs, the lowest of Gray’s career. Gray struck out 143 and walked 80, both unfortunate career lows.

(AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez) (Godofredo A. Vásquez / Associated Press)

Rookie of the Year – RHP Jake Irvin: Few rookies appeared for the Nationals in 2023, but right-hander Jake Irvin stood out. Jake Irvin made his major league debut against the Chicago Cubs on May 3rd. Over 21 starts, Irvin pitched a 4.61 ERA with 99 strikeouts. Irvin’s last seven starts were his best, throwing 31 strikeouts over 37 innings. Irvin made a case for the rotation in 2024. 

The 2023 Washington Nationals exceeded expectations, winning and playing better than the fans predicted. Nationals Fans end the 2023 season saying goodbye to a few former relievers, such as Sean Doolittle, Tyler Clippard, and Craig Stammen, who all announced retirement. Thank You Fans!

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