Nats No. 4 prospect: Matt Skole

First/third baseman Matt Skole would like nothing better than to be able to have a healthy 2014 season after last season ended abruptly.

Skole underwent Tommy John surgery after injuring his elbow on a play at first base early in the Double-A Harrisburg Senators season.

Skole was able to play in the Arizona Fall League, but still was never completely 100 percent. Finally, he will get his shot this season to log several at-bats and games to get his season going and prove again he is the power hitting prospect the Nationals believe he was when they drafted him out of Georgia Tech in 2011.

Skole played just two games for Harrisburg last season and then 15 games in the Arizona Fall League.

Baseball America had him locked in as the No. 4 Nats prospect on its list at the end of last season.

Baseball America National writer Aaron Fitt still likes what he sees from Skole, despite the injury.

"Yeah, I do," Fitt said. "I really didn't know where to put him honestly when I did the rankings because he didn't play really all year. It is hard to know how much the injury would affect him. In my opinion, his stock is kind of static right now. I really didn't dock him a year for really a freak injury. He came back and he was playing in Arizona. I know it probably will take him some time to get back to 100 percent.

"I still like the player. I like the power potential and the patience at the plate. It is hard to really update the scouting report from last year. I hope he is the same player. There is no reason to suspect this is going to be a lingering type injury, we hope. He is kind of left in that same spot he was in last year."

Looking back, Skole turned heads with a Nats minor league position player of the year award in 2012. He hit 27 homers and tallied 104 RBIs in 119 games. There is no indication he won't return to that level this season.

The Nationals envision Skole playing at first and third base this season. I expect he will begin the season at Double-A Harrisburg after the injury denied him a shot to play there in 2013.

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