Projecting when prospects will make their first appearance on an MLB roster is far from an exact science. Some would simply use the term guessing as the most appropriate term. At the beginning of 2018 who would have projected Juan Soto who had played only Rookie and low-A baseball would be on the 2019 Opening Day roster let alone be a starter in just two months. Injuries happen; players get called up early; and sometimes (albeit rarely) they click and stick around.
We’ve collected some guesses from some of our writers to get the conversation started.
Since these are guesses, there are no wrong projections; and no reason to explain the rationale unless you feel you want to. Keeping it simple: just a list of names of players to be on the 26 man roster on or before the 2025 Opening Day game. Along, perhaps with secondary guesses of what players might be next to make the 26 man roster.
Andrew: Robert Hassell III, James Wood, Brady House, Elijah Green
Ben: James Wood, Robert Hassell III, Jarlin Susana, Brady House, Elijah Green.
Would love to see Jeremy De La Rosa or Jake Bennett climb through the ranks as well.
DonH: Robert Hassell III, Brady House, Jackson Rutledge, James Wood.
With one or both of Elijah Green and T.J. White joining later in the year.
Quinn: James Wood, Robert Hassell III, Jackson Rutledge, and Cole Henry
Sao: Jackson Rutledge, Robert Hassell III, Jake Alu as I consider them all as Top-30 prospects. If you want another I have Thaddeus Ward. Cade Cavalli already made his debut. They should all be on the 2025 Nats’ Opening Day roster. And yes, Cavalli is still a top prospect.
Steve: Are Jake Alu and Darren Baker top prospects? To keep with the theme of the legit Baseball America top-10 prospects, I have Jackson Rutledge, Robert Hassell III much earlier than 2025, and James Wood could be this year but most likely next year, and Brady House for sure by 2025. Cade Cavalli will be back in early 2024. I could also see T.J. White in there also with Armando Cruz arriving in 2025.
This gives me the opportunity to say Jake Bennett has stood out the most to me in this minor league season. I expect him as a spot starter in 2025, and not on the Opening Day roster. A starter in 2026. Three starts so far in Single-A Fredericksburg and this kid looks like a MacKenzie Gore clone. His movement is so wicked that the umps are missing strikes, and a lot of them. He needs to attend a Nats’ game when Gore is pitching and stand next to pitching coach Jim Hickey to learn from what Gore is doing right and wrong.
To get even bolder, I expect our 2023 1st round draft pick (Dylan Crews or Paul Skenes) will debut possibly before Wood and certainly before House. I think the eventual Nats’ 2023 draft pick will be on that Stephen Strasburg trajectory to the Majors.
So for me Cavalli has already debuted so I go with Rutledge, Hassell, Crews/Skenes, Wood as my four debuting in that order and all on the 2025 Opening Day roster.
Your Turn: please comment on your thoughts.