AFL season provides plenty to like for Nats fans

Not all that much went on in the baseball world over the weekend, but the last couple days were pretty eventful for Michael Morse.

Morse and his fiancé Jessica got married on Saturday, tying the knot with a number of Morse’s Nationals teammates and manager Davey Johnson in attendance.

Congrats to the happy couple.

Morse tweeted out a number of pictures from the reception and posted a couple to his Facebook page, as well. My favorite is this one, in which the Nationals’ left fielder is donning massive glasses and a giant, feathery white hat.

Morse is the first of a number of Nationals who will be tying the knot this offseason, a group which includes Ryan Zimmerman, Craig Stammen, Edwin Jackson, Ross Detwiler and Jordan Zimmermann.

Might as well get through all the ceremonies before it’s time to pack for Viera, Fla.

The Arizona Fall League season wrapped up on Saturday with the Salt River Rafters falling to the Peoria Javelinas, 4-3, in the championship game. Ryan Perry got the loss after allowing four runs on eight hits in just three innings.

The loss in the title game put an end to strong AFL campaigns by a few Nats prospects, including Anthony Rendon, who batted .338 and posted a .930 OPS in 22 regular season games.

Rendon had a slow start to his AFL season, but finished strong, going 16-for-37 in his final 11 games, with seven extra-base hits. That included an eighth-inning triple in the championship game.

Matt Skole, the Nationals’ 2012 minor league Player of the Year, hit .305 with three homers, 15 RBIs and a .944 OPS in 17 regular season games, and did that while playing first base for the first time in his career.

The 23-year-old has never played above the high Single-A level, but he more than held his own against some top Double-A and Triple-A prospects, and showed he could be a guy to watch in the coming seasons.

Brian Goodwin’s batting average dropped off after a scalding start, and he finished the AFL season hitting just .238. But the speedy center fielder still put up a .340 on-base percentage, slugged .475 and scored 16 runs in 20 regular season games.

Goodwin went 2-for-3 with a walk and a seventh-inning triple in the championship game. Following the triple, it looked like Goodwin had scored the game-tying run when he crossed the plate on a sac fly, but he was ruled out on an appeal, a controversial and bizarre play which led Salt River manager Matt Williams to officially protest the ruling.

The protest was denied, giving Peoria the title. Regardless, Goodwin impressed while out in Arizona and showed that he could be a legitimate candidate to join the major league squad as early as September of next season.

Perry might not have performed to the level he or the Nationals would have hoped, posting a 5.83 ERA in seven starts (including the title game), but overall, the Nats have to be pretty pleased with what they got out of their top prospects in the AFL. Rendon stayed healthy and showed he might not be too far off from the majors, Skole continued to rake and expanded his defensive skill set and Goodwin flashed the speed and ability which have some feeling he could be manning center field at Nationals Park before too long.

blog comments powered by Disqus