Mar 6, 2014; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Washington Nationals third basemanMatt Skole
(63) misses a throw at first base in front of Atlanta Braves left fielderJoey Terdoslavich
(25) in the ninth inning as the Braves beat the Nationals 3-2 at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit:David Manning
-USA TODAY Sports
No. 6: Matt Skole, 1B – Triple-A Syracuse
The Nationals selected Matt Skole in the fifth round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft and the young infielder wasted no time in showing his talents at the plate.
In 2011, Skole hit .290 with 48 RBIs, five home runs and 23 doubles in 72 games with Low-A Auburn. But it wasn’t until 2012 – his first full season as a professional – that fans and analysts alike started thinking of Skole as one of the team’s most promising prospect.
That year, Skole was named the Nationals’ Minor League Player of the Year after batting .291 with 27 home runs and 104 RBIs in 119 combined games with Class A Hagerstown and High-A Potomac. Skole continued to impress in the Arizona Fall League later that year, posting a .305/.419/.525 line with four doubles, three home runs and 14 walks in 17 games.
After his incredible 2012 campaign, many believed Skole was on the fast-track to the big leagues. The Nationals thought so too, and they promoted him to Double-A Harrisburg to start the 2013 season.
But, instead of continuing his climb up the Nationals’ farm system, Skole was involved in a nasty collision while making a defensive play at first base just two games into the season. Skole tore the UCL in his non-throwing elbow and underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery.
While the injury was definitely a speed bump for the first baseman, he recovered nicely from the surgery and returned to Harrisburg in 2014. Skole had yet another solid season with the bat, hitting .241 with 14 RBIs and 29 doubles in 132 games.
While Skole, 25, will likely start the 2015 season with Harrisburg or Triple-A Syracuse, it may not be long before we see him make his major league debut. If Skole can stay healthy, he should continue to develop into a power-hitting first baseman and we could see him on the big league roster in 2015 when rosters expand in September.