Scottsdale left-handed starter Sammy Solis gave up three early runs, only two earned, in Wednesday's loss to Phoenix, 5-0, but has continued to show the stuff in the Arizona Fall League that has the Nationals abuzz over the potential of the former University of San Diego standout.
The Nationals have always been very pleased with the makeup Solis possesses, especially his plus-plus fastball and changeup. He has worked on adding a traditional 12-to-6 curve to complement his rare knuckle curve. Solis has been able to gain all this experience by being one of those few players that get the opportunity to pitch in Arizona for two consecutive seasons.
Baseball America has Solis rated the No. 8 Nationals prospect and national writer Aaron Fitt said the left-hander has the ability to be a solid starter at the major league level.
"I think you are looking at probably a middle of the rotation, innings eating starter who will give you occasional really good outings," Fitt said. "I like the mix of a big, physical left-hander, who is durable with an easy delivery. The fastball velocity has jumped a little bit. He has flashed that in the past at times. He has hit in the mid-90s, more often this year he has been around 92, 93 mph and right up to 96 mph."
Fitt said not only does Solis have the heater going well, but he has a quality changeup and the curveball could be that final piece that completes a big league repertoire.
"He has a swing and miss breaking ball, at times," Fitt said. "It is hard to throw the spiked curveball for a strike. It is more of a chase pitch. I think it is more important for him to throw the breaking ball for strikes as well as the chase pitch."
That is an important key, Fitt reasons. Solis confirmed he just was not commanding the knuckle curve and getting it in the strike zone consistently. It doesn't have to always end up in the zone, but it has to appear like it will. The traditional curve could be the perfect solution. Then, Solis can sometimes bring out the knuckle curve again and bewilder the hitter even further.
"If he can (get the traditional curve in for strikes) it would be a major step in his development," Fitt said. "He has a really good changeup. He throws that for strikes. He has got everything you are looking for in a big league left-hander. He is unflappable. Nothing phases the guy on the mound. I think (Solis) is a No. 2, No. 3 starter kind of guy."