Nationals to send five (and likely two more) to the Arizona Fall League

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ATLANTA — The Arizona Fall League rosters were announced Tuesday with the news that Nationals top prospect Bryce Harper and Angels top talent Mike Trout roaming the same outfield taking top billing. Harper will be joined by four of his Nationals teammates and, likely, two of the Nationals 2011 draft picks.

Double-A Harrisburg catcher Derek Norris will also be heading to the Arizona, along with left-handed pitcher Sammy Solis. Both will be doing their second stints in the AFL, along with Harper. Right-handers Pat Lehman and Rafael Martin will join them on the roster of the Scottsdale Scorpions. Taxi-squad players have not yet been announced but the Nationals are also expected to send third baseman Anthony Rendon and left-hander Matt Purke, their first and fourth selections from the 2011 draft.

The Nationals prospects will play on the Scottsdale team, along with talent from the Angels, Giants, Phillies and Red Sox. The AFL begins on Tuesday, Oct. 4. The Rising Stars game is scheduled for Nov. 5 in Surprise, Ariz., and the championship game is slated for Saturday, Oct. 19, in Scottsdale.

Harper is currently on the minor league disabled list with a hamstring strain. While he’s maintained that he’d like to be healthy and back in time to play for Double-A Harrisburg in the playoffs (which they are poised to make) the Nationals will not let him play before he is completely ready. He should, however, be set to go for the AFL.

In 109 minor league games between Single-A Hagerstown and Double-A Harrisburg, Harper is hitting .297 with 17 homers, 58 RBI, a .392 on-base percentage and a .501 slugging percentage.

Norris — who has made great strides defensively this season as Harrisburg’s catcher, gets on base and hits for power — is one of the Nationals top receiving prospects. He’s hitting .204 but with 19 homers, a .354 OBP and a .436 SLG.

Solis has gone 7-3 with a 3.41 ERA in 16 starts this season between Single-A Hagerstown and Single-A Potomac. He’s struck out 89 and walked 22 after overcoming a groin injury to begin the season.

Martin is 5-1 with a 1.51 ERA in 36 relief appearances for Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg (though 30 of those 36 were made at Double-A) this season. He’s struck out 50 and walked just 11 in 41 2/3 innings of work.

Lehman, who is currently with Double-A Harrisburg, has worked to a 3-2 record with a 3.28 ERA in 39 relief appearances between Single-A Potomac and Harrisburg this season. In 46 2/3 innings, he’s struck out 41 and walked just four. 

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About the Author
Amanda Comak

Amanda Comak

Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals and comes to The Washington Times from the Cape Cod Times and after stints with MLB.com and the Amsterdam (N.Y.) Recorder. A Massachusetts native and 2008 graduate of Boston University, Amanda can be reached at acomak@washingtontimes.com and you can follow her on Twitter @acomak.

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