AFL Upate: Washington Nationals' Prospects In Arizona Fall League - Week Two

The Washington Nationals' organization's 2012 Minor League Player of the Year Matthew Skole and 2011 1st Round pick Anthony Rendon were in action in the Arizona Fall League last night where the Nats' prospects are competing against some of the best competition they've faced thus far in their respective careers.

The Salt River Rafters fell to 5-5 overall with a 5-3 loss to the Scottsdale Scorpions last night in Arizona Fall League action in Scottsdale, AZ's Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Matthew Skole, the Nats' 23-year-old, 2011 5th Round pick out of Woodstock, GA and Georgia Tech, has continued to hit after putting up a .291/.426/.559 line at two stops in the Nationals' system this year at Class-A Hagerstown and High-A Potomac in which he hit a combined 28 doubles and 27 HR's while driving in 104 runs in 119 games and 524 PAs. Skole's production this season earned his the South Atlantic League's Player of the Year and the Nats' Minor League Player of the Year awards in his second year in the organization. After going 2 for 4 with a run scored and a strikeout last night, the 3B/1B is 11 for 22 (.500/.607/.773) with three doubles a home run, six walks and six Ks after six games out in Arizona.

Skole's teammate, and the reason the infielder drafted as a third baseman has been seeing time at first out in AZ, Anthony Rendon, was 0 for 4 last night, dropping his AFL line to .231/.355/.308 after seven games and 26 ABs in which he's hit two doubles with five walks and five Ks. Rendon, the Nats' 2011 1st Round pick (6th overall) struggled with injuries in 2012, suffering a stress fracture in his right ankle just two games into the season that kept him out of action until August. Upon returning to the field, however, and after just nine games at Class-A Potomac overall in which he had a .333/.438/.630 line with two doubles and three triples, Rendon was promoted to Double-A Harrisburg where he hit three doubles, a triple and three home runs in 21 games.

23-year-old right-hander Paul Demny was the only Nats' pitching prospect in action in last night's loss. The '08 6th Round pick who put up a 5.46 ERA and 4.74 FIP with 61 walks (4.44 BB/9) and 97 Ks (7.06 K/9) in 28 G (23 GS) and 123.2 IP at Double-A Harrisburg this season in his fifth year in the Nats' organization, gave up a run on two hits in a 23-pitch inning of work in last night's loss. In four games and 6.2 IP thus far in Arizona, Demny has given up seven hits, three runs and five walks while recording four Ks.

Not in action Saturday night, but also representing the Nationals' organization in AZ are Brian Goodwin, the Nats' 2011 1st Round pick out of Miami Dade Community College (and before that UNC), who had a combined .280/.384/.469 line in 100 games and 452 PAs split between Class-A Hagerstown and Double-A Harrisburg in which he hit 26 doubles and 14 HRs in 2012. So far in AFL action, the 21-year-old outfielder has a .231/.286/.538 line with two doubles, two home runs, two walks and nine Ks in six games. Jason Martinson, 24, a 2010 5th Round pick out of Texas State who had a .245/.340/.430 line with 13 doubles, seven triples and 22 HRs in 135 games and 586 PAs for the Class-A Suns and High-A P-Nats in 2012, is 0 for 11 with a walk and six Ks so far in AFL action.

On the mound, 24-year-old, 2010 9th Round pick Aaron Barrett, a right-hander out of the University of Mississippi, has continued to impress after saving 17 games (16 w/ Hagerstown, 1 w/ Potomac) while posting a 2.09 ERA and 73 Ks (12.72 K/9) in 42 games and 51.2 IP in relief in 2012. Barrett's given up six hits and two unearned runs so far in Arizona while striking out four in 4.0 IP. Cole Kimball, who had surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in 2011, returned for 5.2 IP in the Nats' system this season, and has thrown 2.2 innings in AZ so far, giving up one hit and two runs (1 ER) in 2.2 IP. Former Tigers' prospect Ryan Perry, who was converted back to a starter earlier this year, has made two starts for the Salt River Rafters, giving up eight hits, seven runs and four walks in 5.0 IP in which he's struck out five batters.

The Rafters are back in action tomorrow night at home in Scottsdale's Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, where they'll take on the O's, Cubs, Tigers, Astros and Dodgers' prospect-filled roster of the Mesa Solar Sox. More updates to follow from the so-called finishing school for the game's top prospects...

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