On Saturday, the Arizona Fall League concluded with the Mesa Solar Sox falling to the Surprise Saguaros, 2-0, in the championship game. The eight Nationals prospects who competed in the league played on the Solar Sox, which also had prospects from the Tigers, Angels, Athletics and Cubs. Outfielder Steven Souza Jr. was the lone Nationals prospect to start in the championship game and he went 1 for 4 while center fielder Brian Goodwin and catcher Adrian Nieto were late-game substitutions.
Despite the loss, most of the Nationals minor leaguers had good showings during the fall league. And while he may have had less playing time than the rest of his Nationals teammates, Souza may have quietly had one of the best performances among them.
Souza, who was added to the Nationals’ 40-man roster last month, saw action in only 11 games but posted a .357/.426/.476 slash line. In those 42 at-bats, he had 15 hits, one home run, five walks and 11 strikeouts. That lone home run came off on a 96 mile per hour fastball from former teammate and Nationals top prospect Alex Meyer. There were some rave reviews of Souza’s power during the fall league.
Souza mostly played the corner outfield positions at Class AA Harrisburg this season where he posted a .953 OPS, but he played center field in the AFL championship game and also stole 10 bases in 11 attempts. He’s an athletic 6-foot-3, 220-pound right-handed hitter who also displayed his speed. There was
“Souza has been swinging the bat really well out there,” Nationals director of player development Doug Harris said a few weeks ago. “I’m really proud of him. He is in a role out there as a taxi guy playing twice a week.”
Here are the final stat lines of the other Nationals prospects in the AFL:
LHP Sammy Solis: 5-2 record, 2.17 ERA, 29 innings, 29 strikeouts and seven walks.
LHP Matt Purke: 3-1 record, 3.91 ERA, 23 innings, 17 strikeouts and nine walks.
RHP Richie Mirowski: 2.25 ERA, 12 innings, nine games, 10 strikeouts and two walks.
RHP Robert Benincasa: 4.00 ERA, nine innings, nine games, seven strikeouts and four walks.
OF Brian Goodwin: .296/.333/.444 over 81 at-bats with four doubles, a triple, two home runs, 22 strikeouts, four walks and three stolen bases in four attempts.
C Adrian Nieto: .271/.345/.333 over 48 at-bats with a double, a triple, 10 strikeouts and six walks.
INF Matt Skole: .184/.375/.429 over 49 at-bats with a double, a triple, three home runs, 18 strikeouts and 15 walks.