The Nationals sent eight prospects to the Arizona Fall League this offseason, and they have played a major part in the Mesa Solar Sox reaching the AFL championship game, which will be played today at 3:10 p.m. You can catch the game on MLB Network.
You might have heard of all eight of the Nats prospects out in Arizona. You might have heard of none of them. But here’s a look at how all eight are performing, with one final game to go in Mesa’s season.
Outfielder Steven Souza has only played in 11 games to this point, but he’s been raking in the action that he’s seen. Souza is hitting .357/.426/.476 with one home run and eight RBIs in 42 at-bats. The 24-year-old, who posted a .953 OPS at Double-A Harrisburg this year and was recently added to the Nationals’ 40-man roster, also has 10 stolen bases to just one caught stealing.
Joining Souza near the top of Mesa’s team stats page is outfielder Brian Goodwin, who is batting .296/.333/.444 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 81 at-bats. Goodwin, who also spent the 2013 season at Harrisburg, has played in 19 AFL games and has seven extra-base hits.
Adrian Nieto has gotten the most playing time of Mesa’s four catchers, and has hit .271/.345/.333 with a double, a triple and six RBIs in 48 at-bats. Nieto just turned 24 four days ago and hasn’t advanced past high Single-A Potomac as of yet, but the 2008 fifth-round pick is showing well in Arizona.
The fourth of the Nats’ position players suiting up for Mesa is first baseman/third baseman Matt Skole, who has showed some power and drawn a team-high 15 walks. Skole is hitting just .184 but has a .375 on-base percentage and is slugging .429. He has three homers and seven RBIs and while he has just nine hits in 49 at-bats out in Arizona, five of them have been for extra bases.
On the pitching side of things, the Nats prospects taking the mound for Mesa have done fine work.
Left-hander Sammy Solis leads Mesa in innings pitched, and has worked to a 5-2 record with a 2.17 ERA in seven starts. He allowed just one run over five strong innings on Thursday, leading the Solar Sox to the AFL championship game, and has struck out 29 to just seven walks in 29 innings.
Left-hander Matt Purke is second to Solis in innings pitched on Mesa’s roster. Purke has gone 3-1 with a 3.91 ERA in six starts spanning 23 innings out in Arizona. He has struck out 17, walked nine and worked to a 1.26 WHIP.
Right-handed reliever Richie Mirowski, who tore it up this season between Potomac and Harrisburg, has picked up right where he left off at the end of the 2013 minor league season. Mirowski has pitched to a 2.25 ERA in 12 innings (nine appearances), allowing eight hits and two walks with 10 strikeouts. His 0.83 WHIP is third-lowest on the team.
Robert Benincasa, a seventh-round pick in the 2012 draft, rounds out the Nats prospects in Arizona. The righty has pitched to a 4.00 ERA in nine innings of work, allowing 11 hits, four runs and four walks to go along with seven strikeouts.