Oct 22, 2013, 5:11 PM EST
A new wave of young Nats pitching prospects is on display in the Arizona Fall League, and the early returns from two players in particular are very good.
Sammy Solis and Matt Purke, both left-handers drafted recently by the Nats, are off to strong starts with the Mesa Solar Sox. Solis is 3-0 through three starts with a 1.42 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings pitched. Purke has pitched twice and is also undefeated at 2-0, with no runs allowed through seven total innings. He has nine strikeouts.
The early results for Solis and Purke have to be encouraging for the Nats who last season had a dearth of left-handed pitching prospects in their system. Solis and Purke have always been highly regarded, but major surgeries have delayed their development since they were drafted.
Solis, a second round pick in 2010, had Tommy John surgery last March. He pitched most of the 2013 minor league season with the Potomac Nationals, going 2-1 with a 3.43 ERA in 13 Single-A games.
Purke was taken in the third round of the 2011 draft by the Nats out of TCU and has dealt with shoulder issues ever since. He pitched with Hagerstown and Potomac this season with mixed success, going 6-4 with a 3.80 ERA in 18 starts across both affiliates.
The AFL is a valuable testing ground for top prospects as many of the game’s best young minor leaguers participate each year. Solis and Purke have been excellent so far and makes them two names to watch for 2014, potentially for late season call-ups if they pitch well in the minors.
Their performance in the AFL could also book them trips to Double-A Harrisburg to start next season. Solis is 25 years old and Purke is 22, it might be time to see how close they really are.
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