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Washington Nationals projected lineup, rotation for 2022 MLB season

We go over the Washington Nationals' projected lineup and starting pitchers for this season.

Boston Red Sox v Washington Nationals Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

There should be two main objectives for the Washington Nationals in what looks like a rebuilding season: Help your high-upside youngsters progress toward being an impactful part of the next great Nats team, and find a way to ink Juan Soto to a long (long, long)-term contract. Here is the Nationals’ projected starting lineup.

Washington Nationals projected starting lineup

1. Cesar Hernandez (2B)
2. Juan Soto (RF)
3. Nelson Cruz (DH)
4. Josh Bell (1B)
5. Keibert Ruiz (C)
6. Lane Thomas (LF)
7. Alcides Escobar (SS)
8. Maikel Franco (3B)
9. Victor Robles (CF)

Soto is a 23-year-old magician with a bat. Although this is not an overly impressive lineup, at least the Washington wunderkind has a couple of big boppers in Bell and the free-agent addition Cruz behind him to offer some protection. Ruiz, who was ranked by Baseball America as a top-15 prospect prior to last season and came over in the trade that sent Trea Turner to the Dodgers, hit .284 with a .348 on-base percentage after the swap. Thomas bashed seven homers in his final 33 games after being acquired during the summer from St. Louis.

Projected rotation

Patrick Corbin
Josiah Gray
Erick Fedde
Anibal Sanchez
Josh Rogers

The Nationals hope Stephen Strasburg will return from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery at some point during the season’s first half. Until then, Corbin is expected to lead this rotation. The 32-year-old received some Cy Young votes as recently as 2019, but he has a 5.20 ERA through 237.1 innings since. Gray, who joined Ruiz in that Turner deal, showed flashes upon landing in D.C. last year, but he’s still a work in progress at 24 years old. On the opposite end of the spectrum, it looks like Sanchez, 38, will be back in an MLB rotation after not playing last year. When will flamethrower Cade Cavalli, the Nats’ No. 1 prospect, become a part of this staff?