MIAMI — Infielder and 2011 first-round pick Anthony Rendon, and outfielder Brian Goodwin, headline the Nationals’ minor league roster of players heading to the Arizona Fall League this season.
The Nationals will send at least six and possibly eight players to the elite prospect league this year, including right-handed pitchers Paul Demny, Christian Garcia and Ryan Perry, all who are well-regarded within the organization. Infielder Jason Martinson is also on the roster as well as two TBA spots being held for the Nationals, one pitcher and one infielder.
Rendon and Goodwin are both Top 10 Nationals prospects, as ranked by Baseball America.
Four of the prospects heading to the AFL are currently with Double-A Harrisburg (Rendon, Goodwin, Demny and Perry). Garcia has been with Triple-A Syracuse since a mid-season promotion, and he’s been considered for a possible promotion to the major leagues in September, as well. Martinson is with Single-A Potomac.
While Garcia is a long shot for a call-up, but still a possibility, Rendon being included on the team’s AFL roster may all but assure that he will not be called up to the major league team in the coming days. Rendon missed most of his first professional season with a fractured ankle but returned late this season in time to play seven games with Single-A Potomac before being promoted to Double-A, where he’s hit .163 with three doubles, a triple and a home run in 14 games.
Goodwin, a speedy outfield prospect, skipped Single-A Potomac in his first pro year, going from Single-A Hagerstown to Double-A after 58 games. Goodwin is hitting with seven doubles, five home runs and one triple in 37 games with Harrisburg.
Garcia and Perry are a bit of a different animal when it comes to prospects. Both are older, more seasoned and, in Perry’s case, have spent time in the major leagues. Garcia is a two-time Tommy John survivor and a former Yankees prospect who has remade himself as a hard-throwing reliever and has opened plenty of eyes this season with a 0.91 ERA in 49 1/3 innings overall, as well as a 0.61 mark, in 29 1/3 innings with Triple-A Syracuse.
Perry, who made seven appearances as a reliever for the Nationals this season and allowed nine earned runs, was moved back down to Double-A to see if he could become a starting pitcher for the first time in his professional career. Perry, a hard-throwing righty who the Nationals acquired in the offseason in a trade with the Detroit Tigers, has taken to starting, at least at the Double-A level. He’s made 12 start for the Senators, averaging 5 2/3 innings per start and has a 2.82 ERA.
Demny has been the Senators’ second-most used pitcher this season, tossing 120 2/3 innings, working to a 5.44 ERA.
Martinson, who was promoted from Single-A Harrisburg mid-way through the 2012 season, is a shortstop hitting .254 overall with 22 home runs, 13 doubles and seven triples. Since his promotion to Single-A Potomac, Martinson’s hitting .242 with 12 home runs in 61 games.
One top prospect not listed on the rosters is right-hander Alex Meyer, who represented the Nationals in this year’s MLB Futures Game in Kansas City. Meyer is currently with Single-A Potomac but he’s been shut down as the Nationals try to limit his innings (129) during his first full season in pro baseball.
The 2012 Salt River Rafters will be made up of prospects from the Nationals, Blue Jays, Diamondbacks, Rockies and White Sox. They’ll be managed by Matt Williams, Arizona’s third base coach, and the Nationals will send rehab pitching coordinator Mark Grater as their coaching representative.