Sammy Solis' third stint in the Arizona Fall League began last week with the 6'5'', 25-year-old lefty giving up three hits and a walk while striking out two in 3 2/3 scoreless innings pitched in which he threw 56 pitches, 39 for strikes while inducing seven ground ball outs from the Glendale Desert Dogs' hitters. Start no.2 this afternoon in HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ saw Solis earn his second straight win (2-0, 1.17 ERA) with four innings of work in which he threw 68 pitches, 43 for strikes and gave up three hits, one a home run, two walks and just the one earned run while striking out eight in what ended up a 7-4 Solar Sox' victory.
The strong start in the AFL for the 2010 2nd Round pick comes after a 2013 campaign in which the left-hander returned from Tommy John surgery to make 13 appearances, 12 of them starts with the High-A Potomac Nationals in which he went (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. Solis, in spite of the elbow injury, was the top-rated left-handed pitching prospect in the Nationals' organization on Baseball America's Top 10 list last winter.
In his previous stints in the Arizona Fall League, Solis went (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 in 2010 after he was selected and signed out of the University of San Diego. After pitching at Class-A Hagerstown and High-A Potomac in the Nats' system in 2011, Solis returned to the AFL and made seven starts for the Scottsdale Scorpions in which he went (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 IP.
Matt Skole, 24, was the 4th overall prospect on Baseball America's post-2012 campaign Top 10 list and the second-highest ranked infielder in the organization behind only Anthony Rendon, when the 2013 season started. Just two games into the season at Double-A Harrisburg, however, the 2012 Nationals' Minor League Player of the Year suffered a torn UCL in his left (non-throwing) elbow on a defensive play at first base. Skole is in his second stint in the AFL this fall, after putting up a .305/.419/.525 line with four doubles and three home runs in 17 games and 74 plate appearances for the Salt River Rafters in 2012.
The Nationals' 2011 5th Round pick out of Georgia Tech was 1 for 3 with a double and two walks in today's win. After three games, Skole's now 3 for 11 with a double, a home run, four walks and two Ks.
Nats' prospect Robert Benincasa, 23, a Nationals' 2012 7th Round pick out of Florida State, gave up two hits, a walk and a run in an inning of work in relief this afternoon. The right-handed reliever has given up three hits, two walks and two runs in his first two AFL appearances.
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