Coming off of a second consecutive 105-win season that ended with a disappointing loss in the NLDS, the 2025 Nationals look to finally get over the hump and bring an SAHL World Series title to the nation’s capital.
The evolution of the SAHL Nationals started in 2020 with a few mediocre seasons as the team’s front office traded away some big contracts (Scherzer, Corbin) and a star (Soto) to build up a farm system. The goal was to build a system from top to bottom that could not only graduate players that would get the team back to competing, but one that was deep enough to continually re-stock the pool of talent and set the club up for decades of winning baseball.
“Our 3-year plan has brought us to a good place, one where we expect to win division titles and be a playoff team every year,” said team GM Bonnici, “now, the goal is to get over the hump and not waste the prime of some of the players we’ve aligned within this opportunity window.”
The 2025 Nats return most of their 2024 roster, and the hope is that the continued development of what was a very young team in 2024 will help push them over the top. We break down the opening day roster on the eve of the 2025 season:
The Nats boast a pitching staff that includes young top-end talent like Eddy Yean (23), Josiah Gray (27), Taj Bradley (24) and Charles Jameson (24) as well as stable veterans like German Marquez (30), Caleb Ferguson (28) and Luis Severino (31), all of which have the potential to be an all star any given season. The staff is filled out with guys like Michael Baez (29), Justus Sheffield (28). Luis Garcia (28), Joel Adon (26) and Matt Cronin (27), each of which have put up special seasons over the last few years. This staff was amongst the top 5 in the SAHL in most pitching categories in 2024, and with the continued development of Yean and Jameson, this year has the chance to be really special.
- Eddy Yean: The staff co-ace is coming off of a 2024 season that saw him throw 193 innings and finish with a 16-8 record, with a 3.73 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and near 4 WAR. Entering his age-23 season, the sky is the limit for this young hurler.
- Josiah Gray: On most any other team, Gray is the ace and #1 starter, but he will settle for sharing that role on this club with Yean. Coming off of a 2023 season that saw him save 44 games as one of the league’s top closers, Gray convinced management that he was a starter and put up great numbers in 2024, finishing with a 13-8 record, 3.52 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 193 strikeouts and a 5.6 WAR. Even the most optimistic Nats fan wasn’t expecting a season like Gray had in 2024 and the club hopes he can continue to blossom and deliver an equally impressive 2025 campaign.
- Justus Sheffield: The only lefty in the rotation, Sheffield has been perhaps the most valuable and under-appreciated member of the Nats staff over the past 3 seasons, serving as both an elite reliever and capable starter as the team’s needs determined. In 2024, Sheffield posted his second consecutive season with a sub 3 ERA (2.92) and finished with a 10-3 record in 14 starts and 48 overall appearances. His 2.5 WAR was tied for 3rd on the club and the team seems committed to him as a full time starter in 2025 as they look to balance the staff with at least one lefty.
- Charls Jameson: The pitcher with perhaps the most upside on the club is the 24-year old Jameson. The young starter had a solid rookie campaign in 2024, finishing 9-9 with a 3.91 ERA in 22 starts. Nats scouts are raving that Jameson’s stuff and movement took a leap forward in the offseason and many expect him to have a spectacular sophomore campaign.
- Michael Baez (likely to be German Marquez once healthy): The unfortunate injury to German Marquez in 2024 opened the door for Baez to get into the starting rotation. Coming off a 2023 season where Baez was one of the top relievers in all of baseball, his 2024 season showed his versatility as he posted a 12-5 record with a 3.58 ERA/1.21WHIP/2.6 WAR in 2024 over 20 starts and 47 total appearances. Perhaps most impressive was that Baez struck out 11.4 per 9 in 2024, tops amongst all Nats pitchers who started at least 10 games. With Marquez set to return in early May, Baez could be shifted into a high leverage bullpen role to make room for him, but with some uncertainty as to how Marquez will look following a major injury, Baez will aim to pitch well and make the Nats brass make some tough decisions.
- Closer: Luis Severino returns as the closer after signing a new 5-year contract with the club. Severino was a top 5 closer in 2024, converting over 90% of his save opportunities (40 of 44) and finishing with a stellar 2.73 ERA, 12.4 K/9 and 1.7 WAR.
- Setup Righty: Taj Bradley has the talent to be one of the top starters on the club, their closer or something in between. The club believes that his 3-pitch mix will play even more dominant in relief, and that is where he will start in 2025.
- Setup Lefty: Caleb Ferguson is another guy that has the ability to start or dominate out of the pen. The left hander will serve as the club’s primary lefty setup man in 2025.
- Middle Relievers: Joan Adon, Matt Cronin and Ryne Nelson all had solid 2024 campaigns and will serve as the primary middle relievers for the club in 2025. Tommy Parsons had an impressive spring (2.33 ERA/2.9 FIP over 19.1 innings) and won a job in the pen for the big league club after spending most of 2024 as a starter on the Nats’ AAA team.
- Long Reliever: Luis Garcia came over as a Rule V pick in 2023 and has had two very good years out of the bullpen for the Nats since. Garcia has the ability to serve as a spot starter, but will do most of his work in long relief for the Nats yet again this year.
Offense (backup in parens):
Catcher: Carson Kelly (Gamiliel Gonzalez): Kelly returns as the veteran leader behind the plate. After a somewhat down first season with the Nats in 2023, Kelly had a bounce back year in 2024, finishing with 21 HRs, 76 RBIs and a 3.0 WAR, all while posting above average defense and managing a young staff to perfection. Gonzalez is a defensive minded backstop who has risen through the organization, spending last season in AAA and posting a .271/.360/.389 triple slash line for the champion Fresno Grizzlies.
First Base: Rowdy Tellez comes off of an MVP season that was derailed only by the jealousy of a cohort of award voters who tanked his votes. Tellez lead the league in virtually every offensive category that mattered and put up his second consecutive 150 RBI season, finishing with 55 HRs and too many other great stats to list off. Tellez will be backed up by a committee that includes Carter Keiboom, Nolan Arrenado and Cory Williams…but let’s be real, when you have a stick as big as Rowdy’s, others are not going to have much opportunity for at bats (or opportunity with the ladies).
Second Base: Luis Arraez (Jean Segura/Carter Kieboom): Arraez comes off a batting title in 2024 and will once again look to put up MVP type numbers for the club. Kieboom, a likely starter on at least 80% of the teams in the SAHL, will serve as part time starter at 3B and full time super sub, who will see his fair share of ABs at second to spell Arraez.
Shortstop: Luis Garcia (Kieboom): Garcia will look to build on his 4.9 WAR 2024 campaign. The 24-year old has established himself as one of the most underrated SS in the game, and the likely top 5 SS will get even more plate appearances this year as he has been elevated to the full-time leadoff hitter role. People within the Nats organization are looking for Garcia to steal 40+ bases and score 150 runs in his new role.
Third Base: Platoon between Carter Kieboom and Nolan Arenado. Arenado will play one of every 3 games against righties and the majority of games against lefties. The veteran Arenado will provide some pop behind Rowdy in the order when he starts. On the other days, Carter Kieboom will get to play his natural 3B position, a role that saw him post three consecutive 5 WAR seasons before Arenado’s arrival last year pushed him into a super-sub role. “People forget how good Carter is. He is still young and, as good as Nolan was in 2024, Carter is going to eat into his playing time in 2025.”
Left Field: Taylor Trammell (Cory Williams/Anderson Comas). On-base machine Trammell will hit second and play the majority of the time in LF for the Nats. Trammel has 30/30 ability and his combination of speed, power and an elite eye make him a sneaky pick to put up MVP type numbers for the Nats in his age-27 season.
Center Field: Victor Robles will bring his gold glove caliber defense and solid bat back to the middle of the outfield for the Nats. Robles has the talent to put up big numbers, but has been a somewhat disappointing “steady” option for the Nats over the past 4 seasons. It’s hard to believe that Robles is still just 27 years old, and the club hopes he has a breakout campaign as he enters his prime years.
Right Field: Brandon Marsh (Williams/Comas/Robles). It is no secret that the Nats saw RF as the main position that could use an upgrade. The team was rumored to be in on Aaron Judge, Cristian Yelich, Mike Trout and others, but after striking out in bringing in someone new, Marsh put up a strong spring and remains the starter in RF. Marsh is above-average defensively and did put up a 5.5 WAR season just 2 years ago (2023), so it isn’t unreasonable to think he may have a bounce-back year for the club.
- Gamiliel Gonzalez (Catcher)
- Jean Segura (2B/SS/3B/OF)
- Kieboom/Arenado (2B/3B)
- Cory Williams (OF)
- Anderson Comas (OF)
Prospect Call-up Watch:
- Kevin Parada (C/1B): Parada will start the season in the minors, but is in line for a call-up to be the backup catcher if Gonzalez struggles, or at 1B in case Tellez needs to miss any significant time
- Hector Leon (SS): The slick fielding middle infielder will see time in the majors as needed to cover for any injuries