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NL East Review and Preview: The Washington Nationals

MacKenzie Gore pitches on the road for the Washington Nationals.

The Nationals were more competitive than expected this season, and they should take another step forward next year.

In the ebb and flow of the 2023 season, the Washington Nationals (71-91) navigated a journey of rebuilding, concluding with a promising record for the future. The campaign unfolded as a testament to optimism amid the challenges of constructing a competitive roster. The Nationals found glimpses of hope and progress, a silver lining in a season where victories were as much about development as they were about the win-loss column.

However, the road to contention proves to be a multi-season endeavor. Despite the strides, the Nationals acknowledged being a few years away from reemerging as serious contenders in the highly competitive National League. The daunting task of competing in a division with powerhouses like the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies added an extra layer of complexity. The Nationals, while realistic about their current standing, look to the future with aspirations of reestablishing themselves among the league’s elite, recognizing that the journey toward sustained success requires both patience and strategic rebuilding efforts.

Month By Month

Spring Training and March

Washington compiled a 13-12 record in the preseason while tweaking lineups and developing young farm-system talent. The Nationals ended March at 0-1 overall, suffering an Opening Day loss at home to the juggernaut Atlanta Braves.

April: Early Season Trials (10-16)

As the 2023 season kicked off in April, the Washington Nationals faced early-season trials, concluding with a 10-16 record. Despite the initial challenges, this period became a testing ground for the team’s resolve. Embracing difficulties, they laid the foundation for future successes. In essence, April set the stage for the Nationals’ rebuilding journey.

May: Building Momentum (14-15)

Transitioning into May, the Nationals continued building momentum, concluding the month with a 14-15 record. Incremental progress in player development began to manifest, offering glimpses of the potential within the roster. Each game played a crucial role in contributing to the collective growth, marking steady strides in the reconstruction journey.

June: Progress in Development (9-16)

June marked continued progress in player development, as the Nationals finished with a 9-16 record. Despite inevitable challenges, the commitment to nurturing young talent persisted. Positive strides became more pronounced, underscoring the resilience of a team determined to rise from the ashes of rebuilding.

Lopsided Results

July: Midseason Resilience (12-14)

Entering July, the Nationals exhibited midseason resilience, closing the month with a 12-14 record. The collective determination to navigate challenges and compete with vigor became the defining narrative. Optimism, fueled by incremental progress, resonated among players and fans alike, marking a pivotal moment in the season.

August: Encouraging Signs (17-11)

August witnessed a notable shift for the Nationals, concluding with an impressive 17-11 record. Encouraging signs emerged as the fruits of strategic rebuilding efforts began to materialize.

September: Navigating Challenges (8-18)

September brought the Nationals to the final stretch, navigating challenges and concluding the season with an 8-18 record. This month presented its share of struggles, yet the overarching positive tone persevered.

The 2023 Washington Nationals season unfolded as a testament to resilience and optimism embedded in the rebuilding process. From the early trials in April to the encouraging signs in August, each month served as a chapter in a larger narrative of resurgence. Navigating challenges in September, the positive tone endured, with fans focusing on the promising journey of reconstructing a competitive roster. The Nationals, having tasted the pinnacle of success in 2019 and undergone deliberate reconstruction in 2020, remained steadfast in their commitment to rebuilding back to glory.


The Nationals were never supposed to contend in 2023 or anytime soon. August showed glimpses of potential to build upon for future seasons, providing excitement for fans and players alike.

Even with a slow finish to September, the team made great progress by reaching 71 wins in a division that saw three teams reach the postseason and wreak havoc on Major League Baseball.

Based on everything I saw from the Nationals, I am confident in saying their rebuild is far ahead of schedule thus far. Reaching 71 wins with a roster lacking veterans and signature names is an impressive feat. The young core led by SP MacKenzie Gore is making waves.

As long as Washington continues to improve in 2024, I am high on the franchise getting back to relevancy in rather quick fashion.

71-91 is a massive improvement from 55-107 just one year prior. If the Nationals build on this improbable feat in 2024, I predict them to earn a Wild Card berth next season.

Do not get your hopes up too soon but remember to keep an eye on this franchise. I have enough confidence in Washington to pick them to finish ahead of the Marlins in 2024 and even steal a few more games from the Braves and Phillies that slipped away in 2023.

What a powerhouse division the NL East is starting to become. The next decade is going to be fun, folks. Look out for the Nationals, Atlanta. That thorn in your side from the 2010’s is coming right back.

Get on the bandwagon while you still can, for Washington is going to be must-see television this season in D.C.

Prediction: Washington Nationals (80-82)

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