The Arizona Fall League has officially ended, and players are heading home, or to another league for the winter. The Nationals players made it all the way to the Championship Game of the AFL, just to fall a bit short losing 2-0 to Surprise. It was a fall league full of great prospects and the Nats’ had some of their best their as well. Brian Goodwin, Sammy Solis, Matt Purke, and Matt Skole all made appearances, along with some other minor league Nats’. Here is how they all faired in Arizona.
Brian Goodwin: OF
Goodwin, the 23 year old outfielder, had his struggles at times at the plate but overall had a good fall. A slash line of .296/.333/.444 got him on base a third of the time which is average. He ended up with seven extra base hit, and had at least one of each variety. Doubles led the way, as he finished with four.
His major struggle was the strikeout. He struck out 22 times compared to only four walks. That can’t happen for a guy of his caliber. The Nats’ are expecting him to step into a major league role rather soon, but numbers like that won’t help his cause. He is a player that can steal a bag or two, but he needs to be on base for that to happen.
He will play most of 2013 in the minor leagues, with a possibility of a call up in September. Depending on what happens with Denard Span, look for Goodwin to possibly be the guy in center field in 2014.
Matt Purke: P
Purke, who is also 23, pitched in six games, all of them starts, this fall. He had a very good season going 3-1, with a 3.91 ERA. Opponents only had a .238 average off of Purke. He finished with 17 strikeouts, to only nine walks, which is good to see out of a young pitcher. You have a problem, if all he does is walk guys.
Purke, will spend 2014 in the minor leagues, working on things to make him a better pitcher. He has a solid foundation set, he just needs to fine tune some things to make him even better. He could be a guy that plays in Arizona next fall just to see how he improved.
Steven Souza Jr.: OF
Souza had a limited fall, only playing in 11 games but he sure did impress. He hit .357 and added three extra base hits. He had his fair share of strikeouts, which he will need to work on but all in all it was a good showing.
He really impressed on the base paths where he stole 10 bases. If he has that kind of speed, he will need to work on getting on base a little bit more, to provide more opportunities to steal some bags in 2014.
Sammy Solis: P
You could argue that Sammy Solis had the best fall out of all Nats’ minor leaguers. In seven games, all starts, he posted a 2.17 ERA, striking out 29. He also only walked seven batters all fall.
He gave up his fair share of hits, 32 in 29 innings, but he stranded a good amount of them. You could possibly see one more season of Solis in the minors, and then him getting a chance to make the major league club. Depending on what the Nats’ due this winter, it could be sooner than that. The Nats’ front office is high on him, so they could throw him into the fire and see how he reacts.
Matt Skole: 1B
Skole was a little Adam Dunn in Arizona. He either hit a ball a long way, or struck out. The only difference between him and Dunn, is Skole did draw 15 walks. If he could just cut down on the 18 strikeouts in 15 games, he would be a better player. He had five extra base hits and scored eight times.
Adrian Nieto: C
In a limited 13 games, Nieto showed some strengths. He drew some walks and had some extra base hit pop. He isn’t high on the list of minor leaguers, but you never know, a fall league like this could give him the confidence to do something this season. Injuries could have him getting some playing time at a higher level of the minor leagues.
Richie Morowski: P
Morowski, came out of the pen this fall, and made nine appearances. He gave up three earned runs, but opposing hitters only had a .182 average. He had impressive stuff late in at bats to finish guys off. He struck out 10, while only allowing two walks. He also recorded one save.
Robert Benincasa: P
Benincasa also came out of the pen, but he didn’t have as good of luck as Morowski. He got hit around a little bit, giving up four earned in nine innings. Opposing hitters, had a .306 average, as he had trouble finding the strike zone at times. He walked four total, while striking out seven.