With the minor league seasons now complete, Baseball America announced their year-end Classification All Star rosters this past Friday and, as Luke Erickson at NationalsProspects.com points out, a trio of Nationals were named.
The Triple-A portion of BA’s All Stars is loaded with players from the Pacific Coast League (long known to be a more offensive league than the International League), but center fielder Corey Brown was able to crack the list and land one of the outfield spots (alongside Arizona’s Adam Eaton and Kansas City’s Wil Myers, BA’s Minor League Player of the Year).
Brown batted .285/.365/.523 with 25 HR and 71 RBI over 554 plate appearances with Syracuse. While he did strike out a great deal (139 times versus just 59 walks), Brown showed a lot of improvement during the 2012 season and may ultimately prove to be the best piece acquired from Oakland when the Nationals dealt Josh Willingham to the A’s in 2010 (the other piece acquired in the deal was, as Erickson called him, Henry “Where’s the Strike Zone?” Rodriguez). Brown also saw some time with Washington this season, including being among the team’s September callups. Through 21 plate appearances he’s hitting .200/.200/.400 with his first career hit coming in late July at Milwaukee, a solo home run off of Randy Wolf.
In the Class-A classification, Hagerstown third baseman and Washington’s Organizational Player of the Year Matt Skole was named, but at the team’s designated hitter. Skole mashed his way to a .286/.438/.574 line with 27 HR and 92 RBI over 448 plate appearances. He’d go on to be promoted to High-A Potomac, hitting .314/.355/.486 over another 76 plate appearances on the year.
He was beat out at third base by Minnesota’s Miguel Sano, a likely shoo-in to appear in the Top 10 of BA’s Top 100 Prospect rankings this winter. Sano hit .258/.373/.521 with 28 HR and 100 RBI on the year over 553 plate appearances.
Finally, from the Short Season NY/Penn League, Robert Benincasa was named as the team’s lone relief pitcher. The right-hander was drafted in the 7th Round of this past June’s Amateur Draft and quickly signed with the Nationals. He’d make 16 appearances for the Auburn Doubledays, pitching 23.1 innings with a 2-0 record, 3.09 ERA, and three saves. He struck out 32 and walked just 3 in that stretch.