Spring Training is right around the corner and this year should be exciting for the Washington Nationals. They are bringing numerous talented young prospects with them and infielder Matt Skole is definitely a part of that group.
Skole was drafted in the fifth round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft. In his first season in the organization with the Auburn Doubledays, he flourished with a slash line of .290/.382/.438. In 2012, he continued his rise in the organization at the single-A ranks with a .291 batting average, .559 slugging percentage and 27 home runs with 104 RBI.
He then got his first invite to Spring Training prior to the 2013 season. While it may have been his first trip to Viera, he certainly didn’t play that way. In 24 at bats, he hit .250 and had on-base percentage of .406 with a pair of doubles and five RBI. The Nationals took note of his accomplishments before sending him to double-A to further his development.
Unfortunately, his development was curbed early on due to injury. He played just two games in which he hit a two-RBI double. The Nationals’ 2012 Minor League Player of the Year underwent Tommy Johns surgery last April, and missed the rest of the season. But, he’s back and ready to prove 2012 was no fluke.
While the usual big bats like Ian Desmond, Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche will be at Spring Training, don’t forget about Skole. At 6-foot-4 and weighing 220 pounds, he’s a giant in the box and can hit a baseball a mile. Expect to see a big-fly or two from him.
When it comes to his chances of making the Opening Day roster, they are slim, but he’s got the best chance of any minor league invite. The Nationals aren’t very deep on the bench in the infield, so they’ll give him a good look. Ultimately, I think they’ll send him back to the minors to further develop, something he didn’t get to do in 2013.
Skole will join Brian Goodwin and A.J. Cole as the three main minor league prospects to watch in Spring Training. The future of the Nationals lies within them and we’ll get a good look at the future of the franchise this Spring.