District on Deck's 2012 Top 15 Nationals Prospects: #8 Sammy Solis

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Name: Sammy Solis

Date of Birth: August 10, 1988

Bats/Throws: Right/Left

Height: 6’5″

Weight: 230

Solis was originally drafted by the Washington Nationals in 2010. He was the 1st selection of the 2nd Round (#51 overall) out of the University of San Diego. Nine of his other college teammates were also drafted in 2010, though none of them by the Nationals. No other players taken in the 2nd Round of the 2010 Draft have reached the Major Leagues yet, though Solis is largely regarded alongside Detroit’s Drew Smyly and Pittsburgh’s Stetson Allie as the top pitchers from the class.

As has become customary for many high draft selections, Solis and the Nationals did not officially reach an agreement on his first professional contract until shortly before the August deadline. The 21 year old left-hander received a $1 Million signing bonus and reported to Hagerstown. Due to signing so late into the season he would only appear in two games, pitching a total of 4.0 innings, allowing 2 hits while striking out 3.

Solis would return to Hagerstown to start the 2011 season. He’d make 7 starts for the Suns, pitching 40.1 innings in which he’d go 2-1 with a 4.02 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, and 8.9 K/9. It was enough to warrant a promotion mid-season, to High-A Potomac.

He’d make 10 more starts in Potomac, pitching 56.1 innings. He’d post a 6-2 record, 2.72 ERA, 1.8 BB/9, and 8.5 K/9. In total, he was 8-3 with a 3.26 ERA in 96.2 innings over his first full professional season.

Top Prospect Rankings

Baseball America (Top 10): 8th

MLB.com (Top 10): 4th

FanGraphs (Top 15): 11th

Seedlings to Stars (MLB Top 100): Unranked

DoD Editor Aaron Somers (Top 15): 9th

DoD Staff Writer Michael Natelli (Top 15): 10th

DoD Staff Writer Andrew Flax (Top 15): 9th

Scouting Report

Thanks to Marc Hulet at FanGraphs:

His ceiling is decent and he could pitch at the level of a No. 3 starter for a few years but will likely settle in as more of a No. 4 guy. He displays good control, as well as solid command of his fastball. He has the chance to be an innings eater thanks to his big frame (assuming the injury woes are behind him).

From MLB.com:

The San Diego product has a good three-pitch mix, with a plus changeup and impeccable command of his fastball. A future middle-of-the-rotation innings eater, Solis had to hang back in Florida to start the (2011) season because of a groin injury, but headed to Hagerstown at the end of May and earned a promotion up to Potomac a month later.

The Positives

Like the pitcher before him on this prospect list, Solis is a lefty with solid control. However, unlike Tom Milone, Solis can consistently get his fastball past opposing hitters in the mid-90s – making him a potentially more dominating force. His big frame will also work to his advantage, particularly providing added deception against left-handed batters.

The Not-so-Positives

There is an injury history to be concerned about. Solis missed some time at the start of the 2011 season due to a groin strain. Then he felt some soreness in his elbow while pitching in the Arizona Fall League after the season, resulting in a consultation with Dr. Lewis Yocum (hat tip to Nationals Arms Race for catching that piece of news earlier this month, as it had gone largely under the radar). According to GM Mike Rizzo the visit sounds merely “precautionary” and hopefully that’s all it turns out to be. Regardless, this is something worth keeping an eye on moving forward.

2012 and Beyond Expectations

Assuming there are no unexpected findings once the results of Dr. Yocum’s tests are known by the organization, the team will then be able to further plan his course of development for the 2012 season. Based on his experience level and age, I’d have to guess that the team may look to be aggressive with Solis, potentially bumping him to Double-A to begin the season rather than having him repeat High-A. I’d expect that he’d remain at the level for the entire season, barring something major and unexpected taking place within the organization.

The Nationals won’t rush Solis at this point in his development. This is in part because of the depth within the organization that stands in front of him on the depth charts, but also partly because the team will be cautious of his injury history. They won’t push him for fear of hurting something further. An injured pitcher provides little value to the organization and wouldn’t provide any value to another. Presuming there are no bumps in the road, Solis could see Washington sometime late in the 2013 season.

Tags: Sammy Solis Top Prospects Washington Nationals

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