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Donovan Casey Strives To Keep Things Simple



It didn't take Donovan Casey long to fit right into the Nationals system.

The 25-year-old outfielder earned a spot on the 40-man roster this offseason after quickly making friends at Double-A Harrisburg, Triple-A Rochester and then with the Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League.

“All of us from the Nationals organization had a house about 25 minutes from the ballpark,” Casey said of his AFL experience. “We did pretty much everything together, and we even had a putting green in the backyard. I really enjoyed it.”

Casey appeared in 13 AFL games and hit .255/.368/.447 for Surprise, who reached the championship game. Nationals officials consider the center fielder an important part of the July 30 deal in they traded Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Dodgers for four prospects.

“Donovan is a strong, physical athletic outfielder who plays an aggressive style of baseball in all phases,” Nationals assistant general manager of player personnel Mark Scialabba said. “He’s an efficient route-runner and has a knack for closing well on balls in the gaps. He’s got a cannon for an arm and is a fearless defender.”

In 123 games during the season, Casey hit .269/.329/.430 with 16 home runs and 22 stolen bases. The only sour note was a .179 finish in 38 games at Triple-A.

“I was excited for how it went this year, but I did have a rough patch toward the end,” Casey said. “As a hitter, you just try to do too much sometimes. Keeping the game as simple as possible is the best way to do it.”

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Casey can play all three outfield positions.

“Offensively, he has plus bat speed and has power to all fields,” Scialabba said. “He’s done a nice job recently of working to improve his contact points and plate discipline.”

Casey was the Dodgers' 20th-round pick in 2017 out of Boston College, where he played the outfield and also saved six games as a closer.

CAPITAL GAINS

— The Nationals named De Jon Watson their new director of player development. Watson, who spent the past five years as a special assistant to general manager Mike Rizzo, led the Dodgers’ player development system from 2007 to 2014. Scialabba, previously assistant GM of player development, is now expected to be more involved in player acquisitions.

— Shortstop Jackson Cluff was named the defensive player of the year in the Arizona Fall League.

Scherzer Turner Getty

Dodgers Acquire Max Scherzer, Trea Turner In Blockbuster Trade With Nationals

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