Eight Nationals minor leaguers were selected to play in the Arizona Fall League, the elite after-the-season league that features many of the best prospects in the sport. The Nationals top outfield prospect, Brian Goodwin, headlines the group that also includes two of the organizations top left-handed pitching prospects, Sammy Solis and Matt Purke. The others are catcher Adrian Nieto, first baseman-third baseman Matt Skole, outfielder Steven Souza, and right-handed relievers Robert Benincasa and Richie Mirowski.
The Nationals will play for the Mesa Solar Sox, which is also comprised of prospects from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Oakland Athletics, Chicago Cubs and Detroit Tigers. League play begins on Oct. 8 and the championship game is on Nov. 16. Troy Gingrich, the Class AAA Syracuse hitting coach, will fill the same role for the Mesa Solar Sox.
With the graduation of infielder Anthony Rendon to the majors, Goodwin assumes the title of the Nationals’ top position prospect in the system. Goodwin, 22, a left-handed batter, is hitting .251/.350/.403 with 10 homers in 115 games this year, his first full season with Class AA Harrisburg. Skole, 24, who was with Goodwin at Harrisburg to start the season, has been out since April because of Tommy John and wrist surgery on his non-throwing arm. Skole, a left-handed batter, impressed team officials with his power during major league camp this spring. Both played in the Arizona Fall League last season.
Solis, 25, has a 2.72 ERA over 12 games this season at Class A Potomac, his first back from Tommy John surgery, and missed a month this summer with shoulder soreness. Purke, 23, finally healthy after 2012 shoulder surgery, posted a 2.48 ERA in six starts with Class A Hagerstown before being promoted to Potomac. Purke has a 4.82 ERA over 11 starts for Potomac.
The other Nationals minor leaguers include Nieto, 23, who is hitting .289/.375/.455 with 11 homers for Potomac. Mirowski, 24, posted a 1.50 ERA and a 5.35 SO/BB ratio over 48 innings at Potomac before being promoted to Harrisburg, where he has a 2.76 ERA in 16 1/3 innings. Benincasa, 22, posted a 2.57 ERA in 21 innings at Hagerstown and a 3.54 ERA over 28 innings with Potomac. And, Souza, primarily a corner outfielder, is hitting .285/.381/.545 with 14 homers in 70 games for Harrisburg.