5 Washington Nationals Prospects You Must Watch During Spring Training

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Minor Leaguers To Watch At Spring Training

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With Spring Training just a little over a week away, it’s time to start analyzing the players that will be there. For the Washington Nationals, there are numerous names that are intriguing invites.

The cool thing about Spring Training is it’s often a chance for fans and coaches to get a good look at minor leaguers they wouldn't see otherwise. Who knows, maybe that player will get a chance to make the major league roster. At any rate, it’s fun to see who is stashed away in the farm system for the future.

The Nationals are inviting a plethora of young and talented minor leaguers to this year's camp. Last year, they invited several players that looked good, but ultimately ended up back in the minors. This year, they have a handful of players attending the spring session that could give the veterans a run for their money.

On the following five slides, you’ll find five Washington Nationals Spring Training minor league invites that you need to keep an eye on. You may notice that one or two of these players have major league experience, but they are still primarily minor leaguers. If they were a September call-up, they still count as a minor leaguer for the purpose of this slide.

If you have any other names that you’ll be keeping an eye on, let us know in the comment box below. This list is just the top five, but there are many others that could make a name for themselves at this year’s Spring Training.

Brian Skinnell is a freelance sports writer for RantSports.com and contributor at Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter and add him to your network on Google.

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5. Steven Souza

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Steven Souza is a utility player that has experience at third base, shortstop, first base and right field. In 77 games at Double-A Harrisburg last year, he recorded an impressive slash line of .300/.396/.557. He stole 20 bases while getting caught just six times, and knocked in 44 RBIs. Souza could fill a void that has been left by Steve Lombardozzi as the team’s utility player. Keep an eye on him to perform well and impress in Spring Training.

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4. Brian Goodwin

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If speed kills, then Brian Goodwin is a lethal weapon. In 2013 at double-A Harrisburg, he stole 19 bases. He also batted .252 with an on-base percentage of .355. One thing working against Goodwin is the signing of Nate McLouth and the midseason addition of Scott Hairston. Both are ahead of him on the chart. While he may not make the major league roster, he’s one guy you’ll get a good glimpse of in Spring Training that will be a future star for the Nationals.

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3. Matt Skole

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Last year, Matt Skole really made a name for himself at Spring Training before eventually ending up back in the minors. Once he was there, he then suffered a season-ending injury early in the year. Now, Skole is back and ready to make a splash like he did just a year ago. In 2012, he had a slash line of .291/.426/.559 with 27 homers and 104 RBIs. He’s got a big bat, that you need to keep an eye on.

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2. Sammy Solis

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Sammy Solis has a legitimate shot to make the major league roster because he’s a left-handed reliever. This past year, he was eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, but the Nationals elevated him to the 40-man roster to protect him. Solis has experience as a starter in the minors, but is expected to be a reliever in the majors. Last year in 57.2 innings at single-A Potomac, he posted a 3.43 ERA with 40 strikeouts. In the Arizona Fall League, he went 5-2 with a 2.17 ERA.

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1. A.J. Cole

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A.J. Cole was drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 Amateur Draft and has been tearing it up in the minors for the Nationals. He’s 20-22 in his career, but boasts a 3.73 ERA and went 4-2 with a 2.18 ERA over seven starts at double-A Harrisburg last year. He may not crack the starting lineup, but he’ll be interesting to watch for sure.

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