The Arizona Fall League's regular season ended Thursday, but the Washington Nationals' prospects and their teammates on the Salt River Rafters finished first in the ALF East, earning the right to face to the Peoria Javelinas Saturday afternoon in the AFL Championship game, which will be televised on the MLB Network at 3:00 PM EST. The Rafters beat the Surprise Saguaros 7-3 in the final game of the season yesterday. Anthony Rendon, the Nats' 22-year-old 2011 1st Round pick, finished his Fall League run with a 1 for 1, 2 BB, 2 R performance. Rendon's fellow Nationals' prospect and fellow 2011 1st Round pick Brian Goodwin, 22, went 1 for 4 with a double and a run scored, Jason Martinson launched a pinch hit HR in the eighth inning that put the Rafters up by four runs and pitcher Cole Kimball gave up a run, a walk and four hits in 2.0 IP in which he struck out two batters.
Kimball, 27, was nominated for the AFL's Stenson Award which is, "... given out more for work ethic and leadership than for performance between the lines," as MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo wrote. Mr. Mayo quotes Salt River manager Matt Williams in the article saying, "The thing we appreciate most about Cole is his ability to be a teammate to a lot of guys who haven't been where he's been." Kimball, of course, has already been in the majors, debuting with the Nationals in 2011 before he suffered a torn labrum he's still working his way back from this Fall. In 11 games, including Thursday's outing, Kimball posted a 4.80 ERA, allowing 18 hits and 10 runs (8 ER) with nine walks and 10 Ks in 15.0 IP.
Anthony Rendon returned from a partially fractured ankle in August to get some work in during his injury-shortened first pro season, which he finished with a .233/.363/.489 line, eight doubles, four triples and six home runs in 43 games and 160 PAs. In the AFL, the former Rice third baseman put up a .338/.436/.494 line with 10 doubles, a triple and more walks (15) than Ks (14) in 22 games and 77 ABs.
Brian Goodwin, who put on a big show in the AFL Rising Stars Game, went 6 for 41 in his last 10 games with the Rafters, ending his Arizona Fall League run with a .238/.340/.475 line, six doubles, two triples and three home runs in 20 games and 80 ABs. In Goodwin's first season in the Nats' system, the 34th pick of the 2011 Draft put up a combined .280/.384/.469 line with 26 doubles, two triples and 14 HRs in 100 games and 452 PAs between Class-A Hagerstown and Double-A Harrisburg.
23-year-old, 2012 Nats' Minor League Player of the Year Matt Skole sat out the Rafters' final regular season AFL game on Thursday, but the 2011 5th Round pick finished his Arizona Fall League experience with a .305/.419/.525 line, hitting four doubles and three home runs in 17 games and 59 ABs. Skole's strong showing in the Fall League follows on the heels of a .291/.426/.559 season split between Class- A Hagerstown and High-A Potomac during which the 6'4'', 230 lb slugger hit 28 doubles and 27 HRs.
Jason Martinson, the Nationals' 24-year-old, 2010 5th Round pick, finished his third pro season with a .245/.340/.430 line, 13 doubles, seven triples and 22 HRs in 135 games and 586 PAs between Hagerstown and Potomac, then went out to the Arizona Fall League where he had a .189/.286/.378 line in 11 games and 37 ABs.
24-year-old right-hander Aaron Barrett, who had 17 saves, a 2.09 ERA, 14 walks (2.44 BB/9) and 73 Ks (12.72 K/9) in 42 games and 51.2 IP between Hagerstown and Potomac this past season, walked two and K'd 10 in 10 games and 11.0 IP for Salt River, giving up 15 hits and six runs, four earned for the Rafters. 23-year-old right-hander Paul Demny, who was (6-8) with a 5.64 ERA, 4.74 FIP, 61 walks (4.44 BB/9) and 97 Ks (7.06 K/9) in 28 G, 23 GS and 123.2 IP for Double-A Harrisburg, had a 3.94 ERA with eight walks and 12 Ks in 10 games, one start and 16.0 AFL innings pitched, in which he gave up 18 hits and eight runs, seven earned.
Ryan Perry, 25, acquired from Detroit in a December 2011 trade that sent Collin Balester to the Tigers, transitioned back into a starting role this past season and finished the year with a 3.07 ERA, 29 walks (3.07 BB/9) and 60 Ks (6.35 K/9) in 24 games, 13 starts and 85.0 IP over which he allowed 75 hits and 34 runs, 29 earned. In the AFL, Perry was (2-0) with a 4.98 ERA, eight walks and 16 Ks in six starts and 21.2 IP in which he gave up 17 hits and 12 runs.
Perry, according to a report by MASNSports.com's Byron Kerr, will start the AFL Championship Game with Rendon, Goodwin and Skole expected to play for the Rafters. There will be a GameThread up here, of course, for the baseball- starved among us.