Doubledays manager: Fifth-round pick Skole "impressive" so far

There is something about Atlantic Coast Conference third basemen and the Nationals.

The team grabbed a guy by the name of Ryan Zimmerman from Virginia in 2005 and now have signed Matt Skole out of Georgia Tech in 2011.

Skole signed his deal quickly and is already playing baseball in the New York-Penn League. The Nationals' highest signed draft pick so far is making a solid impression in his first two weeks of professional baseball for the short-season Single-A Auburn Doubledays.

The fifth-round selection is batting .255 through his first 13 games, with one double, one triple and four RBIs. He has hit .302 during his current 11-game hitting streak.

Auburn manager Gary Cathcart said the organization is pretty excited to have signed a player with the talent and potential of the 6-foot-4, 230 lb., Skole.

"He is a big kid, a left-handed hitting third baseman," Cathcart said. "He has really done some good work the first couple of weeks on his defense. You can tell (he can be very good) by the skill set.

"Skole is a left-handed hitting power guy that played a corner. He has got good hands. He is just working on his footwork. It is just the basic stuff about ground balls and getting set. They don't pay a lot of attention with that it seems like in college. They are more concerned about these guys swinging the bat."

Skole showed power numbers for the Yellow Jackets, with 47 homers in three seasons. Cathcart can see by Skole's swing that he could replicate those numbers at this level soon, too.

"Skole is making a few adjustments at home plate now that he has gone to a wooden bat," Cathcart said. "He could be a 20-home run bat very easily with his size and the sound the ball makes off his bat. Skole has been impressive so far."

Cathcart said they have focused on Skole's defense and the Woodstock, Ga., native has responded well.

"He has been really diligent so far," Cathcart said. "He has been buying into our infield program and how we want to go about doing things. We have been keeping (infield coordinator) Jeff Garber informed. He is on his way up here shortly to work with Skole."

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