After going 2 for 4 with his first triple of the Fall and a run scored Friday night in the Salt River Rafters' 9-2 loss to the Scottsdale Scorpions, 22-year-old 2011 1st Round Anthony Rendon has a .291/.375/.418 AFL line with five doubles, eight walks, 10 Ks and 3 SBs after 15 games and 55 AB's in the Arizona Fall League. The former Rice infielder, who had an injury-shortened first season in the Nats' system after Washington selected him 6th overall two drafts back, will represent the Nationals' organization Saturday night in the AFL's Rising Stars Game which takes place at 8:00 pm EDT and is being broadcast on the MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius/XM Radio.
Asked about getting the opportunity to compete in the AFL and the Rising Stars Game, Rendon, who suffered a partial ankle fracture early in his first pro season but still ranked 33rd overall on MLB's Top 100 Prospect list, told MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo in an article on Friday that it was "crazy" how far he'd come in just a short time after returning to action late in the year and finishing his first pro season with a .233/.363/.489 line eight doubles, four triples and six home runs in 43 games and 160 plate appearances:
"'When I look back where I've been. ... A couple of months ago, I was sitting on my butt doing nothing. I couldn't walk. Now I'm here, playing with these guys in the Rising Stars.'"
Rendon will be joined on the AFL East Division's roster by fellow 2011 1st Round pick Brian Goodwin, a 22-year-old outfielder out of UNC and Miami Dade College who put up a combined .280/.384/.469 line with 26 doubles and 14 HRs between Class-A Hagerstown and Double-A Harrisburg this season and 24-year-old 2010 9th Round pick Aaron Barrett, a right-hander who split the 2012 campaign between Class-A Hagerstown and High-A Potomac where the former University of Mississippi pitcher was (3-2) with 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.
Neither Goodwin, who was 67th on MLB.com's Top 100, or Barrett played Friday night. In 14 games and 56 ABs in the AFL, Goodwin has a .268/.359/.571 line with four doubles, two triples and three home runs for the Rafters. Barrett has thrown 8.0 innings in relief so far this Fall, giving up 13 hits, 5 runs (3 ER) and one walk, while recording seven Ks.
Nats' Minor League Player of the Year Matt Skole, who's been dealing with hamstring issues, was 0 for 4 Friday night, leaving the 23-year-old 2011 5th Round pick with a .310/.431/.524 line, three doubles, two home runs, nine walks and 16 Ks in 12 games and 42 ABs so far this Fall.
Cole Kimball threw 1.2 scoreless innings in relief, giving up a hit and a walk after taking over in the bottom of the second when 2010 Toronto Blue Jays' 1st Round pick Deck McGuire gave up two hits, three walks and five runs, four earned in 1.1 IP. Kimball, who's returning from a torn rotator cuff suffered not long after his MLB debut in early 2011, has a 2.45 ERA, nine walks and six Ks in 7.1 IP for Salt River.
The 2012 Rising Stars Game is being held in the Rafters' home park, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.
(ed. note - "Apologies for posting this article early, but with internet access and battery power currently at a minimum here in NJ, wanted to make sure to get this up so that anyone watching the AFL Rising Stars Game had a place to chat. Go Rendon! Go Goodwin! Who's Barrett? Just kidding!")