Washington Nationals’ Top Prospects Not Disappointing in Spring Training

By Brian Skinnell
Brian Goodwin Spring Training
Getty Images

The Washington Nationals brought with them numerous prospects to Viera, Florida for Spring Training. Of them, pitcher A.J. Cole, infielder Matt Skole and outfielder Brian Goodwin are the most notable. Now that all three have had fairly significant playing times, let’s make some initial evaluations.

Simply put, neither of the three have disappointed early on in Spring Training. Skole has brought his powerful bat back with him for second year. Goodwin has been solid in the field and at the plate. Not to be outdone, Cole has been strong and steady on the mound. All three players have hit the ground running and it’s clear why they were the three most talked about prospects entering spring.

Through eight at-bats spanning five games, Skole has picked up three hits including two doubles and three RBIs. He’s batting .375 with a slugging percentage of .625. Skole’s future as a hitter lies within his power, so it’s good to see him swinging a powerful bat well. He’s currently tied for fifth on the team in total hits.

Goodwin has been solid from the plate, but has also made some noise in the outfield with his glove. Against the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday afternoon, he made a highlight-reel diving catch in centerfield. At the plate, he’s just 1-for-7, but has walked twice and scored four times. His lone hit was a double that scored a run.

On the mound, Cole has pitched a solid four innings, tied with Taylor Jordan for the most this spring. Through his four innings of work, he’s surrendered three hits, but has yet to give up a run with four strikeouts. His .200 opponents batting average is ranked sixth on the team.

While all three are performing well, the chances of them making the Opening Day roster are slim. At their respective positions, the Nationals are pretty well set. However, Skole or Goodwin do have a small chance of making the bench, but even that’s a bit of a long shot. Even still, them not making the Opening Day roster wouldn’t mean their spring wasn’t productive.

While Opening Day may not be in their future, a September call-up could be. Teams get the opportunity in September to call-up members of their 40-man roster, so either of these three could be around by season’s end. Having the likes of Goodwin and Skole on the bench would be nice for manager Matt Williams during the playoff push.

The expectations entering spring were high for these three and they have delivered through the team’s first five games. Keep an eye on A.J. Cole, Matt Skole and Brian Goodwin throughout the rest of Spring Training. These are three future stars for the Nationals and we’re getting a good look at them, and the bright future of the franchise, right now.

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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