Aaron Barrett showing "aggressive fastball" in AFL (plus Salt River update)

I have had a few requests for news about the Arizona Fall League and some of the Nationals' prospects and how they are doing. The Rafters beat Phoenix 4-2 in 10 innings thanks to a two-run single by Matt Skole.

Brian Goodwin went 2-for-5 with two runs and two doubles - one of the doubles would have scored a run had the runner not been thrown out at the plate. Goodwin is batting .353, leading off and playing left field.

Skole went 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Skole is batting .583 and was the designated hitter, but has also played a lot of first base.

Anthony Rendon went 1-for-5 and struck out three times, but is hitting .286.

Cole Kimball got four outs and struck out two batters. He did not allow a run. it was a nice bounceback from his first outing Friday, when he walked three batters and got one out.

I also wanted to give you updates on how the instructional league workouts went in Florida.

Chris Michalak, who is the pitching coach for the Potomac Nationals, was with the pitching prospects for most of camp and gave his report on how the guys are doing.

I will give you some updates on each pitcher we talked about as the offseason progresses.

Right-hander Aaron Barrett got the call to pitch in Arizona and is off to another good start, showing the same promise he did at Potomac.

In two games with the Rafters, Barrett has tossed two innings in relief, and has yet to allow an earned run. He has given up two runs on four hits, with no walks and one strikeout.

At Potomac, Barrett went 0-0 with one save and a 1.06 ERA in 11 games, striking out 21 and walking three batters in 17 innings. Barrett also registered a 2.60 ERA in 31 games at low Single-A Hagerstown before being promoted. He had 73 strikeouts in 51 2/3 total innings this season.

Michalak said he did not get to spend the whole season with Barrett, but he was impressed in the month he got to work with the Ole Miss product. And the Nationals love the size of this right-hander, who is 6-foot-4 and 215 lbs.

"I got him at the end of the year at Potomac," Michalak noted. "He did a great job in Hagerstown. He didn't miss a beat. He was pitching at the back end of ballgames. Two innings at a time."

Michalak said Barrett's "aggressive fastball" is a separator pitch for the Evansville, Ind., native.

"He has almost like a bowling ball-type fastball," Michalak said. "It is heavy and it gets on guys. It is pretty good. It is definitely a wipe-out pitch. It is not a pitch guys chase out of the zone. It is a pitch that he can get people out in the strike zone.

"Obviously, that is the key to being able to pitch at the higher levels and he is able to do that. For him to go to the fall league is very exciting for him."

I have heard some Twitter questions on Matt Purke, Sammy Solis and Lucas Giolito. I know Giolito is still too early along in his recovery from Tommy John surgery to have any substantive update. Purke had shoulder surgery and is recovering. Solis is farther along, so I will reach out to get information on him as soon as possible.

Any other prospects you would like to hear updates on?

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