September 20, 2020

Washington Nationals Arizona Fall League recruits: Prospects, intriguing older players and head-scratchers

The Washington Nationals will once again be sending some top prospects and high draft picks to the Arizona Fall League. This year, however, they are also sending a couple of intriguing players with a little more experience and a couple of head-scratchers. They also plan to send one more as yet unnamed position player according to MASNSports.com’s Byron Kerr. But one player that won’t be going is top pitching prospect Alex Meyer, who was shut down last week after reaching his innings limit for the season in his first year of pro ball.

Anthony Rendon – Winston-Salem Dash v. Potomac Nationals, 8/12/2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Anthony Rendon is the highlight of the list, The 22-year-old third baseman season — the No. 6 overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft — has been severely limited due to an ankle injury in spring training, so it makes sense that now that he’s healthy the Nats would want to see him in the AFL. He’s played in just 37 games and is hitting .239/.364/.479 with four home run and 10 RBIs for four different affiliates so far this season, and it’s not completely out of the question he could get a call-up when the Major League rosters expand Sept. 1 since he’s on the 40-man roster.

Brian Goodwin, a 21-year old outfielder, was 34th overall pick in the ’11 draft. The right-handed hitting center fielder  destroyed the South Atlantic League in the first half of the season with Hagerstown, as he hit .324/.438/.542 with nine homers and 38 RBIs, while going 15-for-19 in stolen base attempts. He’s struggled a bit since being promoted straight to Double-A (.226/.311/.390) but he’s an advanced hitter for his age and should be near the top of the Nats off-season prospect lists.

Christian Garcia is an interesting addition to the AFL. He was a third round pick of the Yankees in ’04 and is already 27 years old, which will make him one of the oldest players in the history of the AFL. But he’s already missed two seasons due to two Tommy John surgeries and is enjoying a revival of his career this season in the Nats organization. Overall, pitching for Harrisburg and Syracuse, Garcia is 2-1 with a microscopic 0.89 ERA and 0.954 WHIP in 50 1/3 innings over 43 games, a career high for appearances in his pro career. He strikes out 11.4 per nine innings while walking just 3.0 per nine. He could also possibly help out the Nats pen in September.

Ryan Perry was a career reliever though the first 11 games of this season, including stints for the Nats and Tigers at the Major League level without much success. He’s always had a big arm, but his lack of control has been his worst enemy. He was demoted from Syracuse to Harrisburg early in the season and once arriving back at Double-A, he was inserted into the starting rotation for the first time in his career and he took to it right away. In 13 starts in AA, he’s just 2-4 but boasts a 2.84 ERA and 1.110 WHIP in 73 innings — all while walking just 2.7 per nine innings. Granted, this is two levels below where the 25-year old expected to play this season, but encouraging enough apparently to the Nats to want to see him perform in Arizona.

Paul Demny was a sixth round pick in the ’08 draft and if you look at his resume, it certainly doesn’t scream “prospect.” He turned 23 at the beginning of August and while pitching for Harrisburg this season he’s posted a 5.44 ERA and 1.616 WHIP in 23 starts. In fact, his career minor league ERA in 113 games (105 starts) is 4.59. This looks like an organizational pick to fill out their responsibility to send another pitcher, quite frankly.

Jason Martinson has split his season between Low-A Hagerstown and High-A Potomac as a 23-year old this season. He mashed Sally pitching (.272/.391/.449), but no so much so in the Carolina League (.228/.391/.433) in almost equal opportunities. He’s always shown good power (43 homers in 330 pro games) and runs very well (30-for-35 this season), but is brutal in the field at his primary position of shortstop. He’s in need of a position change and could hit his way through the organization like another late bloomer without a real position — the Nats Tyler Moore. Martinson has some intriguing tools to work with but is old for his level. He’ll be on the taxi squad in the AFL (eligible to play twice a week), so he’ll have limited opportunity to show off out there.

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

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