Baseball America sees good left-handed depth in Nats’ Solis, Rivero and Silvestre

Sammy Solis, Felipe Rivero and Hector Silvestre are the three left-handers on the Baseball America top 30 of list Nationals prospects. Matt Purke remains on the depth chart.

Baseball America editor-in-chief John Manuel says Solis has been able to have a little more time to develop thanks to the pitching in front of him. This is an important season for Solis, who made only five starts last season and threw just 18 1/3 innings. He was shut down in June last season with elbow discomfort.

“Sammy Solis has certainly has had his issues health-wise, but he’s not the first pitcher who has gotten hurt a lot,” Manuel said. “Now he is 26 years old. I guess the good thing for Solis is the Nationals have some depth at the big league level; they’re not counting on Solis. You can afford to be patient on a guy who’s been that banged-up.”

The 23-year-old Rivero pitched for three teams in 2014 and notched 10 starts for Double-A Harrisburg, going 2-7 with a 4.12 ERA with 38 strikeouts in 43 2/3 innings.

“Rivero to me is a little bit more of an exciting potential guy from Tampa Bay who is more of a reliever,” Manuel said. “Power arm. Part of me wants to say that if the Rays can’t figure it out, then who can, because the Rays are pretty good and developing pitchers. But some times some of those guys do need a change of scenery.”

The 22-year-old Silvestre pitched well in 2014. He made an impressive 24 starts between Single-A Hagerstown and Single-A Potomac, logging 119 2/3 innings with 70 strikeouts.

“Silvestre is a young guy,” Manuel said. “There aren’t a lot of Dominican left-handers. It is a rare phylum of players. When you try to make comparisons as scouts do, you can’t find a lot of power left-handed Dominican starters. I don’t know why that is.

“He is an interesting guy. Finished up in high-A. Fastball, changeup combination. Kind of figuring out what the breaking ball is going to be. That is usually not a recipe for starting, there’s not a lot of fastball-changeup starters up there either. I like a 21-year-old with a plus fastball who throws that many strikes. We got him with a fastball up to 93-94 mph and some action. He’s got an above-average fastball, that’s a great place to start for a potential starting pitcher. I think he’s interesting.”

Manuel also had Nick Lee and Matt Grace reaching the Baseball America depth chart.

“Nick Lee is at No. 30. He’s more of a left-handed reliever, a guy that has a chance. Matt Grace is also on there as a reliever,” Manuel said.

Grace had a 1.17 ERA in 50 appearances last season and Lee is only 23 and at Potomac.

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