Sammy Solis was (9-2) with a 3.42 ERA, 29 walks (2.84 BB/9) and 92 Ks (9.00 K/9) in 15 games, 14 starts and 92 IP for University of San Diego in 2010, over which he held opposing hitters to a .233 batting average against as a redshirt sophomore. The 6'5'' left-hander who missed the 2009 campaign with a herniated disc in his back was selected by the Washington Nationals with the 51st pick in the second round of the 2010 Draft that June. He signed in August and made two starts with the Nats' Low-A affiliate before participating in the Arizona Fall League for the first time.
After going (1-0) with a 3.82 ERA, a 4.72 FIP, seven walks (2.66 BB/9) and 12 Ks (4.56 K/9) in 23 2/3 IP that fall, Solis was ranked by Baseball America as the no.6 prospect and the top left-hander in a Nationals' organization which, BA's Aaron Fitt wrote at the time, was, "short on impact arms."
Solis began his first full pro season back at Hagerstown where he was (2-1) with a 4.02 ERA, a 3.22 FIP, 12 walks (2.68 BB/9) and 40 Ks (8.93 K/9) in 40 1/3 IP and seven starts for the Suns before moving up to High-A Potomac. With the P-Nats, the left-hander was (6-2) with a 2.72 ERA, a 3.16 FIP, 11 walks (1.76 BB/9) and 53 Ks (8.47 K/9) in 10 starts and 56 1/3 IP.
Solis made a second trip to the AFL that fall and was (1-1) with a 4.50 ERA, 3.74 FIP, 16 walks (5.54 BB/9) and 25 Ks (8.65 K/9) in 26.0 IP. Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo traveled to Arizona to watch Solis pitch that November and told MLB Network Radio's Jim Bowden and Casey Stern that the left-hander was working on moving from a spiked to a more traditional curve, "... 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."
Unfortunately for Solis, who was ranked 8th in the Nats' system by Baseball America after the 2011 campaign, an elbow issue which cropped up at the end of his second stint in the so-called "finishing school" for the game's top prospects eventually required Tommy John surgery, which cost the pitcher the entire 2012 campaign.
In spite of the lost season Solis was ranked the top left-hander (no.8 overall) in the organization last December. He returned to competitive action at Potomac this past May (w/ one start in the GCL as well), appearing in 13 games, 12 as a starter for the P-Nats, over which he was (2-1) with a 3.43 ERA, 3.48 FIP, 19 walks (2.97 BB/9) and 40 Ks (6.24 K/9) in 57 2/3 IP.
Six starts into his third AFL stint, Solis is now (4-2) with a 2.25 ERA, seven walks (2.63 BB/9) and 25 Ks (9.38 K/9) in 24 IP after a 4 1/3 inning outing this afternoon in HoHoKam Park in which he gave up five hits, a walk and one earned run while striking out five and throwing 74 pitches, 48 of them strikes in a 6-1 win over the Surprise Saguaros.
When Baseball America published their 2014 rankings recently, Solis was back in a familiar position, no.6 overall in the organization, though this time as the Nationals' second-highest ranked left-hander behind Robbie Ray. Solis appeared ready for a move up to Double-A in 2012 before the elbow injury. If he starts at Harrisburg this season, could the lefty get back on the fast track to the majors he was on when he was drafted in 2010?
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