Local kid drawing eyes in camp with Nats

March 15th, 2024

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Infielder , Washington's No. 16 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, is a local kid. He is from Frederick, Md., which is about an hour away from Nationals Park. So it would be fitting if Lipscomb made his mark at that stadium this year.

Lipscomb’s work ethic is already paying off, and it has left an impression on manager Dave Martinez. Does that mean Lipscomb, 23, has a good chance of making the Opening Day roster? As of now, Lipscomb isn’t thinking that far ahead.

“The best nine guys are going to be out there on the field,” Lipscomb said. “We’re not hoping someone makes the team and someone doesn’t. We all have the same goal, and that's to win a championship. That’s all we’re trying to do.”

Lipscomb will be featured in the inaugural Spring Breakout on Friday afternoon, when Nationals prospects take on Mets prospects at Clover Park in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Lipscomb’s defense has always been his calling card ever since he was selected in the third round of the 2022 MLB Draft out of the University of Tennessee. Last year, in fact, he won a Minor League Gold Glove at third base. But the Nationals see him playing all over the place. He can play all four infield positions and both corner outfield spots.

“Man, the amazing thing is, he can play the middle of the field -- second base and shortstop,” Martinez said. “He has looked really good at second base -- turning double plays, staying in there and making some good decisions. But he also looked real good at short. If I need a backup shortstop for CJ Abrams, he could fit the bill. Obviously, we have [Ildemaro] Vargas. He could be another guy who could play short.”

Perhaps even more impressive is that Lipscomb has held his own with the bat. Heading into the Spring Breakout game, Lipscomb is 11-for-31 (.355) with two RBIs in camp.

“It’s one of those things where you work in the cage. Once the game happens, it’s you against the pitcher,” Lipscomb said. “With me up there, it’s less thinking and more competing.”

Martinez said Lipscomb stays inside the ball well, and doesn’t try to do too much in the batter’s box.

“He stays in the middle of the field,” Martinez said. “You haven’t seen the power that he has. … I’ve seen him take batting practice. This guy smashes the ball to center field. That’s awesome. He doesn’t try to do a whole lot.”

In just a short time with the big league club, Lipscomb is getting the knowledge from his teammates.

“I’m having a blast out here,” Lipscomb said. “I’m just coming to the field every day, being around the big league guys in the locker room. I feel they are making me better. It’s awesome to come here and do that every day.”

Lipscomb credits his success on the field to his father, LaVictor. Dad was a wrestler at The Citadel, a military college in South Carolina, and didn’t know much about the game of baseball. But LaVictor made sure that his oldest son had the tools to play the game.

“He gave me every opportunity. That’s all I could ask for,” Lipscomb said. “Obviously, through thick and thin, everything I ever needed, he always reached out to me, helped me out. It says a lot.”