Outfielder Daylen Lile is approaching this spring as his time to show the Nationals an even better version of himself.
“I’m definitely looking forward to starting off fresh and coming back bigger, stronger and faster,” Lile said. “I’m ready to apply what I’ve learned to the field.”
After signing for $1.75 million as a second-round pick last year, the Louisville high school product hit .219/.362/.250 in 19 games in the Florida Complex League.
“That mentality of the game is so important—learning about the failure and building off that by knowing that I have another day,” Lile said.
Lile was viewed as one of the best high school hitters in last year’s draft, and he has impressed his new organization at instructional league, a minicamp in January and now the start of minor league spring training.
“He’s a good-looking lefthanded hitter who has a very advanced approach for his age,” Nationals farm director De Jon Watson said. “He has surprising opposite-field power and really puts quality at-bats together.”
The 6-foot, 195-pound Lile is working at all three outfield positions after being limited to DH duty in the FCL. During the final week of the regular season at Trinity High, he developed a slight tear in the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow after making a throw to the plate.
The Nationals’ trainers helped him build back strength in the arm, and he resumed outfield play before the end of instructional league last fall.
Watson said Lile’s jumps are good and that the 19-year-old is working on route efficiency. Lile has above-average speed and has a stronger lower half after his offseason work.
“It’s been great getting to work with our coaches and player development guys,” Lile said. “I just want to be a more complete player. I tell everyone I’m trying to play until I’m 40—or whenever I can’t run and need a pinch-runner.”
— Jay Robertson, now in his 12th season on the Nationals’ scouting staff, was honored as the franchise’s Phil Rizzo scout of the year. He covers several organizations from the majors through the low minor leagues.
— The Nationals have brought 28-year-old first baseman/catcher Taylor Gushue back into the organization after signing him to a minor league contract. Last year, he played at Triple-A Iowa and made his MLB debut with four at-bats for the Cubs.