After a strong .291/.426/.559, 28 double, 27 HR 2012 season at Class-A Hagerstown and High-A Potomac which earned 23-year-old, 2011 5th Round pick Matt Skole the honor of being named the Washington Nationals' Minor League Player of the Year, the 6'4'', 230 lb left-handed hitting slugger went to the Arizona Fall League where he posted a .305/.419/.525 line with four doubles and three home runs in 17 games and 59 AFL ABs.
Skole's fellow 2011 Draft pick Anthony Rendon, who was taken 6th overall by the Nationals that year, struggled with injuries in his first pro season, suffering a partial fracture of his left ankle, but he returned late in the year and posted a .233/.363/.489 line with eight doubles, four triples and six home runs over 43 games and 160 PAs at four levels in the Nats' system, ending the 2012 campaign at Double-A Harrisburg.
Rendon, 22, went to the Arizona Fall League too, where he played third base for the Salt River Rafters, making it necessary for Skole to move over to first base. Rendon hit 10 doubles, one triple, stole six bases and put up a .338/.436/.494 line over 22 games and 94 PAs. The former Rice third baseman whose injury issues resulted in his being available for the Nationals to select 6th overall in the 1st Round of the '11 Draft, earned a spot on the AFL's Rising Stars' roster with his play in Arizona.
Rendon, considered by some the best hitter available in his Draft class, was also a strong defender in college and was described by D.C. GM Mike Rizzo after his selection as having, "Gold Glove caliber defensive skills at third base." MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo wrote recently that the infielder, "... [showed] excellent defensive skills at third," in the Arizona Fall League as well. Though Skole played third base in college and throughout his first two professional seasons, the Nats' general manager told MLB Network Radio hosts in a recent interview that the right-handed throwing infielder, "... probably profiles as a left-handed power bat at first base." The two could find themselves as teammates again at Double-A Harrisburg at the start of the 2013 campaign.
The Nationals' young potential future corner infielders were each recognized for their work in the Arizona Fall League this afternoon with the Nats announcing via Twitter @NationalsPR that both Skole and Rendon had been named to the Arizona Fall League Top Prospects Team:
#Nationals prospects Anthony Rendon and Matt Skole have been named to the 2012 Arizona Fall League Top Prospects Team.— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) November 26, 2012