Nationals Journal reported yesterday afternoon, to little fanfare, that the Washington Nationals will send six players to the Arizona Fall League next month.
Traditionally this time of the season is spent by Nats fans focusing almost solely on prospects and how they might be able to help the team. Last year you’ll recall how enamored everyone was with the emergence of Tommy Milone and Brad Peacock, and how it seemed that first baseman Chris Marrero was finally close to major league ready. But with a winning ball club, and a good amount of upper minor league talent traded in the offseason, Washingtonians are focused on the present, not the future.
Nevertheless, here are the six players that will represent the Nats in the Fall League:
Anthony Rendon – Rendon, considered possibly the most talented player in last year’s draft, played in just 37 minor league games this year due to an ankle injury during suffered his first week as a minor leaguer. When The Nats Blog saw him play in spring training earlier this year, we were all really impressed with his bat speed and poise. In my opinion, had he stayed healthy, he would be earning a late season call-up right about now.
Overall Stats: .239/.364/.479, 4 home runs, 10 RBI, 24 R
Christian Garcia – Garcia is an odd choice because of his age (27) and his minor league service time (7 years). Traditionally the AFL is a place for very young players to get a good taste of professional baseball, and for minor leaguers to work out tweaks. Garcia, however, had a resurgence of sorts in the upper minors this year, so the Nationals are likely looking to groom him for a major league bullpen spot next year.
Overall Stats: 2-1, 0.89 ERA, 19 saves, 64K in 50.1 innings pitched.
Paul Demny – At the age of 23, and only posting a 5.44 ERA in 23 starts for Harrisburg this season, it’s an odd choice for the Nationals to place a relative non-prospect here. He was originally drafted in the sixth round by the Nats in 2008.
Overall Stats: 6-8, 5.44 ERA, 95 K in 120.2 innings pitched.
Ryan Perry – You may remember Perry during his brief and disastrous stint in the Nats bullpen. In just seven appearances he posted a 10.13 ERA. The 25-year-old was once a high producing reliever for the Detroit Tigers, but seemed to lose it in 2011 and fall off the cliff this year. In 2009 at the age of 22 he posted a 3.79 ERA out of the pen for Detroit in 53 appearances. In 2010 he posted a 3.59 ERA in 60 appearances for the Tigers. It looks as if the Nats have converted him to a starting pitcher in hopes of resurrecting his career.
Overall Stats (minors): 2-4, 2.84 ERA, 13 GS, 46K in 73 innings pitched.
Brian Goodwin – Goodwin, 21, was another Nationals first round pick last season, drafting him 34th overall out of Miami Dade South Community College. The right-handed hitting center fielder excelled in 58 games in Hagerstown before having trouble adjusting in 37 games in Harrisburg. The Nats will hope to continue his overall development through the AFL. With his upside, he could be a starting centerfielder in Washington by 2014.
Overall Stats: .285/.389/.481, 14 HR, 49 RBI, 17 SB, 62 R
Jason Martinson – Martinson, primarily a shortstop, hit well in 69 games at Hagerstown before struggling in 62 games at Potomac. While a .272/.391/.449 split at Hagerstown would generally be promising to most, at the age of 23 it is less impressive. In 62 games in high-A ball Potomac the shortstop hit just .228/.291/.433. Nevertheless, the 23 year old showed strong power at both levels, giving the Nationals hope that if he can figure it out he could be yet-another power hitting middle infield option for Washington.
Overall Stats: .252/.347/.442, 22 HR, 106 RBI, 30 SB