The Nationals promoted outfielder Donovan Casey to Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday, according to a source familiar with the decision. Washington acquired Casey as part of its return for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner from the Los Angeles Dodgers at the trade deadline in July.
Casey, 25, needed just 12 games at AA Harrisburg to convince the Nationals he was ready for Triple-A. The 2017 20th-round pick out of Boston College hit .347 in 51 plate appearances with three home runs, two doubles, a triple and a pair of stolen bases. Before the trade, Casey spent the year with Double-A Tulsa and posted an .824 OPS in 73 games.
MLB Pipeline pegs Casey as the 27th overall prospect in the Nationals’ farm system. His running and throwing tools have been highlighted by scouts as his best assets but he’s displayed home run power at multiple levels of the minor leagues as well. Due to the coronavirus, MLB requires all promotions to come from Triple-A so Casey is now eligible to make the jump when ready.
In the three weeks since the deadline, the Nationals have seen positive results from several players they acquired in their fire sale. Catcher Keibert Ruiz and starter Josiah Gray were the co-headliners in the Scherzer/Turner; Ruiz is hitting .184 over his first 10 games in Rochester but did have a pair of multi-hit games over the weekend while Gray has impressed with a 2.81 ERA with 18 strikeouts across three starts in the majors.
Mason Thompson, a reliever received in return for Daniel Hudson, has allowed one run in six appearances for the Nationals. Outfielder Lane Thomas made his Nationals debut Sunday after being acquired for Jon Lester and he recorded a pair of hits. Catcher Riley Greene (Brad Hand) hit the go-ahead home run in the Nationals’ only win since Aug. 2.
The losses have been piling up — the Nationals enter play Tuesday in line for the fifth overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft — but Casey’s promotion is only the latest sign that there’s a new, young core being built in Washington.