At 8 p.m. tonight out west, three Nationals prospects – infielder Anthony Rendon, center fielder Brian Goodwin and reliever Aaron Barrett – will play in the Rising Stars Game, the all-star showcase for the Arizona Fall League. With the league’s season about two-thirds of the way over, here’s a rundown of how all eight Nationals players have fared, with help from a National League scout who recently evaluated the Nationals’ contingent.
Anthony Rendon, IF
Stats: .275/.373/.367, 0 HR, 5 2B, 8 BB, 3 SB, 10 K in 53 at-bats
Summary: Rendon, the sixth overall pick of the 2011 draft, is the Nationals’ top overall prospect. A broken ankle limited him to only 43 games in the minors this year, and the relative rust has shown a bit. “He’s had some good days and bad days,” Nationals director of player development Doug Harris said. “He’s really finding a rhythm offensively. He’s defending really well.”
Scout’s take: “He’s played pretty well defensively at third base. Hasn’t really had a great Fall League. He’s not really impacting the ball or driving it. But he hasn’t really struggled. He’s struggled a little bit with pitchers with hard fastballs. It’s been surprising how well he’s played at third.”
Brian Goodwin, CF
Stats: .268/.359/.571, 3 HR, 4 2B, 2 3B, 8 BB, 1 SB, 17 K in 56 at-bats
Summary: Goodwin, named the league’s most recent player of the week, is considered the Nationals’ best outfield prospect after a strong season split between Class A Hagerstown and Class AA Harrisburg.
Scout’s take: “He’s been fine. He’s really struggled with left-handed pitching out here. That’s going to be his adjustment going forward. Overall he’s a nice player. Speed. Power. He’s got some on-base skills. He battles through at-bats. He’s not the next Michael Bourn that he’s going to be a great center fielder, but he can play well enough out there. … I think he needs another full year of at-bats and playing center field [before he makes the majors]. I don’t think he would be an option to break camp. It’s at least a year. And I think that’s what [the Nationals] expect, too.”
Matt Skole, 3B
Stats: 342/.468/.579, 2 HR, 3 2B, 9 BB, 1 SB, 15 K in 38 at-bats
Summary: Skole, 23, was named the Nationals’ minor league player of the year after he hit 27 home runs and drove in 104 RBIs between Potomac and Harrisburg with a .426 on-base percentage.
Scout’s take: “I saw him at Potomac. He played well. His bat was well ahead of his glove. He struggled a little at third. I think he will end up going over to first. He’s got plenty of bat. Is he going to be an every day first baseman? Hard to tell at this point. But he’s not really built like a corner OF.”
Jason Martinson, IF
Stats: .115/.179/.192, 0 HR, 2 2B, 2 BB, 11 K in 26 at-bats
Summary: A fifth-round pick in 2010, Martinson drove in 106 RBIs this year between Hagerstown and Class A Potomac after fighting injuries during his first season.
Scout’s take: “He does have some power in the bat. At this point, he is a little bit older. Based on my limited views, he seems like a nice player, nice guy to have in the system. It’s probably time to challenge him at some higher levels. He can play different positions. There could be some utility value there.”
Aaron Barrett, RP
Stats: 8 IP, 3 ER, 13 H, 1 BB, 7 K
Summary: Barrett, 24, produced a strong under-the-radar 2011 season, punching up a 2.09 ERA over 42 appearances between Hagerstown and Potomac. He has a fastball that zips at about 93 miles per hour and a good feel for pitching.
Scout’s take: “He’s got a pretty decent arm. Good slider, pitches off his slider a lot. He doesn’t have a great fastball. He does have a go-to slider that can get him out of trouble.”
Paul Demny, SP
Stats: 10 2/3 IP, 3 ER, 10 H, 8 BB, 7 K
Summary: Demny took a step back after an impressive 2011 season when he posted a 5.46 ERA over 23 starts at Harrisburg. He’s still just 23. He seems to have lost some velocity on his fastball, which sat in the low-to-mid 90s in 2011.
Scout’s take: “He’s more of a pitchability guy. He has to rely on command. He’s about 88-90 with his fastball right now.”
Cole Kimball, RP
Stats: 5 2 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 4 BB, 2 K
Summary: Kimball looked like a rising bullpen star as he reached the majors in May 2011 before he suffered a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. He’s still recovering from the surgery he underwent in June 2011.
Scout’s take: “He’s kind of struggled. He doesn’t look like he’s fully recovered from the shoulder injury. He’s at about 88-90 with his fastball. His secondary stuff isn’t there. It’s not the overpowering stuff you saw when he came up. There’s some hesitancy there with his stuff. Coming back from that shoulder injury, it’s a process. It may be next year before he’s really willing to let it go again. At this point, it’s not even fair to evaluate. It’s going to take a while with him. You can’t really write him off. I don’t think the Nationals are expecting much this year.”
Ryan Perry, SP
Stats: 14 IP, 7 ER, 9 H, 4 BB, 12 K
Summary: Perry, who briefly pitched out of the Nationals’ bullpen this year, is continuing his transition from reliever to starter. In one start, Perry pitched four no-hit innings. He is still working on a full wind-up and throwing his secondary pitches in more varied sequences. “He was fully invested in the transition,” Harris said. “Perry threw the ball really well – above average fastball, strikes with secondary stuff, threw his changeup with confidence.”
Scout’s take: “I think it’s still trying to find his consistency and command and stuff.”