Of the ten players who made their MLB debuts for Washington in 2023, tying the Nationals’ franchise record from the 2015 campaign, six of them were pitchers.
Manager Davey Martinez talked late last season about working with all of those young arms in the majors, after Jackson Rutledge (a 2019 1st Round pick), came up to start in the big leagues down the stretch.
“We got some very young, talented players,” Martinez said. “Some that we traded for, some that have been in the organization that we developed, [Rutledge] being one — he’s one of our No. 1 picks and we’re really happy that these guys are developing the way they are. It’s been a lot of fun. It’s been fun getting them up here. And like I said, the ultimate goal for all of these guys is not just to get up here, but to get up here and stay. That’s what we’re hoping for these guys to do. I’ve had a blast with these guys, I really have. And I love teaching. So to get another young kid up here and teach him how to be a professional and a Major League Baseball player is gonna be a lot of fun.”
Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo too talked at the end of the regular season about Rutledge and their other young pitchers forming the core of the rotation in the nation’s capital for the next few seasons.
“We’re excited about [Josiah] Gray,” Rizzo said, “[MacKenzie] Gore, [Jake] Irvin in the big leagues, and then you’ve got Rutledge and Cole Henry, and [Jake] Bennett [since injured], and [Cade] Cavalli [recovering from Tommy John surgery] and that group of guys that will all be in the big leagues sometime in the near future.”
Martinez talked this winter about all of their young arms getting an opportunity again in 2024, when asked about trying to potentially sign free agent pitchers, and the possibility of adding veterans (other than Patrick Corbin and Trevor Williams) to the mix along with all of their young starters.
“I want to see our young pitchers pitch,” Martinez said. “Some of these guys got a year under their belts, some of them have three quarters of a year under their belt.
“I want to see what they can do coming out of Spring Training.
“I want to see them grow, though. I want to see them compete. So this to me is going to be an interesting Spring Training to see how they bounce back from last year, because a lot of them did pitch a lot. We had some guys that were injured before, and they made it through last year. So this year will be critical.
“But, yeah, I’ll take a good quality starter anytime.”