Sammy Solis (left) and Bryce Harper (right), the top two picks from the 2010 Draft class could play an important role in the near future for The Washington Nationals. (Photo from 2010 by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
In discussing his willingness to part with two major-league ready arms in Brad Peacock and Tom Milone, a highly-regarded young right-hander in A.J. Cole and a high-OBP, power bat in catcher Derek Norris in exchange for Gio Gonzalez in this past December's trade with the Oakland A's, Nats' GM Mike Rizzo told reporters it had a lot to do with the faith he has in the organization's next wave of pitching prospects. "I think that we have enough pitching depth that we could trade off our pitching depth," Rizzo told reporters, "It's taken us a long time to assemble a deep farm system that we can be proud of, and that is contributing on the major league level consistently, and we certainly don't want to rid ourselves of that. It's important to keep the depth. We're going to make trades when trades are prudent."
"Don't forget we've got another wave of prospects coming," Rizzo said, "that I think will at least equal and possibly surpass the package of guys that we've given up in this trade. With the [Matt] Purkes and the [Sammy] Solises and the [Alex] Meyers of the world," the general manager continued, "Then we also have a wave behind them of the [Robbie] Rays and the [Paul] Demnys and those type of guys behind them. So, we feel that we're set up very, very well for the long haul."
Since he'd mentioned 2010 2nd Round pick Sammy Solis as part of the depth that allowed the Nationals to trade three pitchers, Rizzo was asked for an update on the left-hander, since the last anyone had heard, Solis had experienced elbow pain at the end of his Arizona Fall League stint and had visited, "... with renowned orthopedic surgeon Lewis Yocum and team doctor Wiemi Douoguih," as Washington Times' writer Amanda Comak reported in a December 5, 2011 article entitled, "Nationals concerned about Solis’ elbow."
MASNSports.com's Byron Kerr had reported on 12/6 that Solis was headed back to see Dr. Yocum for a second meeting, "... a diagnostic appointment with Dr. Yocum to determine the cause and extent of the elbow soreness," as he wrote in an article entitled, "Solis seeing doctor in L.A. to check sore elbow." "The Sammy Solis thing has been sidetracked because he has strep throat," Rizzo told reporters on December 24th, "... so we're waiting for that to be cured for him to go see Dr. Yocum and we'll have further information after that."
The Washington Times' Amanda Comak wrote last Friday, in an article entitled, "A few Nationals notes on Rick Ankiel, Sammy Solis, the bullpen, Livo and Pudge", that the 23-year-old Solis was, "... over the strep throat that plagued him during December but he still has yet to return to Dr. Lewis Yocum for another checkup on his sore left elbow." Following up on the story this morning, MASNSports.com's Mr. Kerr wrote that Solis was, "... progessing well following elbow soreness that shut down his Arizona Fall League campaign," and expected to be starting a personalized throwing plan as Spring Training approaches.
As Mr. Kerr notes in the article entitled, "Solis 'doing well' in recovery from elbow pain; Hansen also good news", the, "... fact that the team is in the process of finalizing a throwing schedule is a positive sign that Tommy John, or any other similar procedure, is not the direction the team needs to go in with Solis at this time."
The University of San Diego-educated 23-year-old left-hander was (2-1) record with a 4.02 ERA , 3.22 FIP, 8.93 K/9 and 2.68 BB/9 in seven starts and 40.1 IP with the Class-A Hagerstown Suns this season before moving to Class-A Potomac where he was (6-2) with a 2.72 ERA, 3.16 FIP, 8.47 K/9 and 1.76 BB/9 in 10 starts and 56.1 IP for the P-Nats. Solis finished his second AFL stint with a 4.50 ERA, 16 walks and 25 K's in seven starts and 26.0 IP in which he allowed 29 hits and 15 runs, 13 earned as he worked on adding a tradition curve to his repertoire.
In an early November interview on MLB Network Radio, Mike Rizzo told the hosts that Solis, before the reports of his elbow issues had surfaced, was still on the fast track he'd been on since he was drafted. Rizzo had just seen Solis in the AFL and had been impressed with the progress he saw. "He was 93-96," the GM said, "he's got a plus changeup. We're revamping, taking him from a spiked curve ball, which he had trouble commanding to a more traditional curve ball, and if that becomes a useable pitch for him, this guy could go quickly, and take off and be a real factor for us in the very near future."