The Washington Nationals today named third baseman Matthew Skole Minor League Player of the Year and right-hander Nathan Karns Minor League Pitcher of the Year for the 2012 season. Nationals Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo, Assistant General Manager and Vice President of Player Development Bob Boone, Director of Player Development Doug Harris and Director of Minor League Operations Mark Scialabba made the joint announcement.
Skole hit .292 with 28 2B, one 3B, 27 HR, 104 RBI, and 83 R in 118 games for Hagerstown of the Single-A South Atlantic League and Potomac of the Advanced-A Carolina League. His 27 home runs led the South Atlantic League, were most among Nationals farmhands and good for 3rd in all of Class-A of Minor League Baseball. The 23-year old amassed
a .989 OPS during the 2012 campaign, including a South Atlantic League leading 1.013 OPS in just 101 games for Hagerstown.
Skole clubbed home runs in three consecutive games from August 1st-3rd, including a walk-off grand slam on August 3rd vs. Lexington. He proved to be the South Atlantic League's most prolific hitter during the 2012 season, averaging one home run every 12.70 at bats. Last week, the South Atlantic League named Skole its Most Valuable Player in addition to his selection as both a mid-season and postseason All-Star.
A native of Woodstock, Georgia, Skole was selected in the fifth round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of Georgia Tech.
Karns went 11-4 on the year, posting an organizational-best 2.17 ERA (28 ER/116.0 IP) in 24 games (18 starts) for Hagerstown of the Single-A South Atlantic League and Potomac of the Advanced-A Carolina League. The 6'5" righty began the season with Hagerstown, going 3-0 with a 2.03 ERA in 11 games (5 starts) before being promoted to Potomac in early June. For the Potomac Nationals, Karns went 8-4 with a 2.26 ERA in 13 starts. He struck out an organizational-best 148 batters and his 11 wins were good for 2nd among Nationals farmhands.
Karns garnered Carolina League Pitcher of the Week honors twice during the 2012 season and in three consecutive starts in June, fanned at least 10 batters. In nine starts from June 15th to August 2nd, Karns went 8-0 with an 0.94 ERA (6 ER/57.1 IP) with 65 strikeouts against just 14 walks.
A native of Arlington, Texas, Karns was selected in the 12th round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of Texas Tech University.
Matthew Skole and Nathan Karns will be honored for their accomplishments throughout the 2012 season during an on-field ceremony prior to Friday's 7:05 p.m. contest against Miami.
Washington Nationals Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year
2005 - INF Kory Casto, LHP Michael O'Connor
2006 - INF Kory Casto, RHP Zechry Zinicola
2007 - OF Justin Maxwell, LHP John Lannan
2008 - OF Leonard Davis, RHP Jordan Zimmermann
2009 - C Derek Norris, RHP Brad Meyers
2010 - OF Tyler Moore, LHP Tom Milone
2011 - INF Steven Lombardozzi, Jr., RHP Brad Peacock
2012 - INF Matthew Skole, RHP Nathan Karns