The Class-A South Atlantic League has announced their rosters for this summer’s All Star Game, and five members of the Hagerstown Suns will be part of the game – four players and one coach. The game is scheduled for June 19th in Charleston, South Carolina.
The Suns are 34-23 on the season thus far, good enough for second place in the Northern Division. Catcher Adrian Nieto, third baseman Matt Skole, outfielder Caleb Ramsey, and relief pitcher Aaron Barrett all made the team to represent the Suns.
Nieto, 22, is a Cuban-born switch hitter who the Nationals drafted out of a Florida high school in the 5th Round of the 2008 Draft. This is his first season with Hagerstown and through 37 games (157 plate appearances) he’s hitting .259/.331/.403 with 4 HR and 25 RBI.
Skole, also 22, has been enjoying a breakout season in 2012 and is the biggest name of this group. A right-hander who bats from the left side, he’s batting .298/.446/.545 with 53 RBI through 56 games (251 plate appearances). He’s also second in the league in home runs with 12. It would not be overly surprising to see Skole promoted to High-A Potomac by month’s end, with the possibility of starting 2013 with Double-A Harrisburg if he can continue this streak, a timeline our own Steve Walker suggested a month ago.
Ramsey, 23, is batting .296/.366/.439 with 5 HR and 33 RBI through 53 games (214 plate appearances).
Barrett, 24, might be a name to keep an eye on in the season’s second half – though it’s worth noting that he’s older than most of the competition across the league. In 18 appearances (22.2 innings) he holds a 3-1 record, 3.18 ERA, and has saved 6 games. However, it’s his improvements in walk and strikeout rates that are worth noting. This year Barrett has walked 3.6 batters per nine innings. That is down from 6.8 BB/9 last year and 9.4 BB/9 the year before. His K/9 has also risen to 13.9 this year, up from 10.8 last year.
Brian Daubach will also serve as one of the All Star Game coaches, giving the team five total representatives at the festivities. Daubach batted .259/.341/.476 with 93 HR and 333 RBI in an 8 year career spanning from 1998 to 2005. The bulk of that career was spent with the Boston Red Sox (1999-2002) during which he appeared in more than 110 games each season – providing a wealth of knowledge and experience he can share with some of Washington’s younger minor leaguers.
One of the Suns may have been snubbed from this honor, as shortstop Jason Martinson failed to make the roster. The 23 year old is batting .284/.401/.464 with 8 HR and a league leading 56 RBI. Martinson ranked as 25th best prospect in the Nationals system by BA’s Prospect Handbook (Skole was 21st) . He’s shown improvements this season but he is repeating the level, which can’t be overlooked.