The Nationals could still be searching for an answer at third base and second base heading into the 2020 season. One player who could fill that opening is Jake Noll, who got a taste of the big leagues last season in eight games. He went 2-for-12 with a double and two RBIs with the Nats after a very impressive 2019 spring training. His two-out RBI double at Colorado on April 24 was his first major league base hit.
His first major league RBI was a memorable one: a walk-off walk to beat the Phillies to begin the season.
Noll can play third base, second base, first base and the outfield. He is only 25, and will maintain rookie status through the 2020 season.
Noll slashed .285/.327/.410 with Triple-A Fresno, with 24 doubles, 11 homers, five stolen bases, 69 runs scored and 54 RBIs in 118 games.
In 2019 spring training for the Nats, Noll was a sensation, slashing .314/.386/.510. The right-handed hitter collected four doubles, two homers and 10 RBIs in 27 games. Those numbers earned him a roster spot as the club broke for D.C. in late March.
Noll demonstrated his versatility with the Grizzlies. The Nats like to move their fielders around from outfield to infield at the minor league level so they can be used at several spots in D.C. Noll played left field, third base, second base and first base for Fresno. He would be a solid choice for bench depth in 2020, and could have a shot at landing the job at third base or second base.
Obviously, Carter Kieboom has been the name that comes to mind when talk turns to replacing Anthony Rendon at third base or finding an everyday second baseman. But Noll has shown he can hit at different levels. Now he looks to become as consistent at the plate at the major league level as he was in Triple-A.
Observers have talked much about Wilmer Difo, Adrián Sanchez and others as possible infield solutions, but maybe Noll deserves a chance to show that his bat and plate discipline can sustain in the majors for longer than a couple of weeks. Now the question is whether Noll can be one of the answers in the infield for an entire season with the Nats.