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8 Nats selected for Arizona Fall League

Aug 27, 2013, 3:03 PM EDT

Photo by the Associated Press Photo by the Associated Press

The Washington Nationals will have eight representatives in the 2013 Arizona Fall League, all playing for the Mesa Solar Sox.

Outfielder Brian Goodwin, catcher Adrian Nieto, first baseman Matt Skole and outfielder Steven Souza are the position players the Nats are sending. Sammy Solis, Matt Purke, Robert Benincasa and Richie Mirowski are the pitching prospects.

Souza will be a taxi squad player for Mesa, meaning he can only play twice a week. The Nats also announced Syracuse Chiefs hitting coach Troy Gingrich will serve in the same role for the Solar Sox.

Goodwin, 22, heads to the AFL after an inconsistent year at Double-A Harrisburg. The 2011 first round pick is hitting .251 through 115 games with the Senators this year with ten home runs and 39 RBI. He was a standout in Arizona last fall with AFL player of the week honors in late October and the MVP award in the AFL rising stars game.

Nieto has enjoyed a strong season with the Potomac Nationals, batting .289 with a .830 OPS. The 23-year-old from Cuba has 11 home runs, 50 RBI and 51 walks through 106 games.

Skole goes to the AFL after playing just two games this season with Harrisburg. He had Tommy John surgery and a procedure on his wrist in April, keeping him out ever since. Whether the 24-year-old can even participate is a question.

Souza, also 24, gets the nod after an injury-shortened, but solid year with Harrisburg. Through 70 games in Double-A, Souza has 14 homers, 35 RBI, 50 runs and 37 walks. His .926 is best on the team.

Solis is a former second round pick of the Nats in 2010 who has made 12 starts this season for Potomac. The 25-year-old holds a 2.72 ERA through 53 total innings with 38 strikeouts and 16 walks.

Purke, 23, was taken in the third round of the 2011 MLB draft by the Nats. He’s made 17 starts this season split between Potomac and the Hagerstown Suns, accruing a 4.02 ERA across 85 innings.

Benincasa is a 22 year old relief pitcher the Nats drafted out of the 7th round in 2012. He’s also split time with Potomac and Hagerstown this year, holding a 3.12 ERA through 38 total appearances. He has 62 strikeouts and 14 walks in 49 innings this season.

Mirowski, 24, was taken by the Nats in the 45th round of the 2011 MLB draft. He has pitched with both Harrisburg and Potomac this season, going 9-3 with a 1.82 ERA in 42 total games.

The Solar Sox begin their 2013 regular season on Oct. 8 at Glendale and play through Nov. 14.

  1. ghostofstevem - Aug 27, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    Looks like a good list and a good test for Purke.

  2. ghostofstevem - Aug 27, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    Nats won’t have to worry about Marlon Byrd until the playoffs this year.

  3. laddieblahblah - Aug 27, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    Billy Burns belongs on that AFL team. He had a better year than Nieto at Potomac, and has played better than either Souza or Goodwin at Harrisburg. He replaced Michael Taylor as the leadoff hitter at Potomac and immediately replaced Brian Goodwin as the leadoff guy when he was promoted to Harrisburg. He is hitting about 50 points higher than Souza and about 80 points higher than Goodwin at Harrisburg, and his OBP has been well over .400 all season long, no matter where he has played.

    He is the one and only guy in the entire Nats’ organization who profiles as the prototypical leadoff hitter. He has stolen over 60 bases with a 90% success rate this year.

    What does the kid have to do? If Skole can’t go, I hope they replace him with young Mr. Burns.

    • alexva6 - Aug 27, 2013 at 4:51 PM

      he has been a great story but he is so small and has zero power. the game I saw in Potomac the outfielders were in so shallow it looked like a coed softball game when the girls come up. no offense intended

      • langleyclub - Aug 27, 2013 at 5:13 PM

        Billy Burns is 24, he has less than 100 at bats above A ball, and has no home runs in his last 800 minor league at bats. Not saying that its impossible for him to make it to the bigs, but he does not fit the profile of a MLB prospect (Burns sounds a lot like Eury Perez – except Burns is a year older and playing at a lower level). Would guess that Nieto received an invite because he is a catcher, and there was a need for catchers to fill out the AFL roster.

      • laddieblahblah - Aug 28, 2013 at 2:00 AM

        He would have more power if he used PEDs, like selectees Nieto and Souza have done.

        What you say is true, but irrelevant. No one else in the entire organization profiles better as a leadoff hitter than Burns. The Nats do not lack power – they lack a guy who can get on, move up, and get over. No one else in the Nats MiL system is better at that than Burns. He replaced selectee Goodwin as Harrisburg’s leadoff man the day he joined the team.

        He’s small? So what?

      • alexva6 - Aug 29, 2013 at 3:38 PM

        infield hits including bunts tend not to be hits at the major league level. I’ve been surprised at his continued success and would love to be wrong but history is not on his side.

    • pdowdy83 - Aug 28, 2013 at 9:13 AM

      I find it hard to knock Burns for having a good season but to say it is better than Souza who has played the year at a level higher than Burns is a bit misleading. Souza has a slash of .295/.389/.550 with a .938 OPS, 14 homers, 20 doubles and a triple in only 288 plate appearances. Not to mention Souza also put up a nearly identical stat line last season in single A. Yes Burns is having an excellent season but Souza has 35 extra base hits in basically half a season. Also Souza would be a potential MILB free agent at the end of the season so maybe they want to see him against a high level of competition to determine whether or not to put in on the 40 man roster.

      Goodwin has had an inconsistent season for sure but he is still a higher ceiling prospect. It would definitely be nice to see him replace Skole if he is unavailable though. I like Burns but there is no reason to put him in the AFL because the team knows what they need to know about him and there is no imminent roster decision with him. Burns isn’t the type of prospect you need to push or motivate. He plays hard and knows his strengths.

      Also just as a comparison 2 years ago everyone was screaming for Lombo to be the leadoff hitter because he was getting on base so well in the minors. That did not translate to the majors. They are similar types of players except Burns has more speed but even less pop.

  4. adcwonk - Aug 27, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    “Mirowski, 24, was taken by the Nats in the 45th round…”

    45th round?! Yowza!

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