While the Nationals prepare to play the first Major League Baseball postseason game in Washington since 1933 on Wednesday, the seasons of eight prospects are continuing, too.
The six-team Arizona Fall League opens today and runs through Nov. 15. Third baseman Anthony Rendon, the Nationals’ 2011 first-round pick, is among eight farmhands on the Salt River Rafters.
Rendon played just 43 minor-league games across four levels, hampered by a partial fracture in his left ankle suffered in April. He finished the season 31-for-160 with six home runs and 12 RBIs. General manager Mike Rizzo’s expectations are basic.
“Just get some additional at-bats that he missed because he was hurt and see where he’s at in his developmental curve,” Rizzo said, “but mostly to get at-bats to catch up.”
Last month, Nationals manager Davey Johnson left open the possibility of summoning Rendon to Washington when rosters expanded, but the idea quickly faded. The way Rendon finished the season in his brief appearance with Double-A Harrisburg encouraged Rizzo.
“He was swinging the bat well and he was healthy and moving around great, so that’s good,” Rizzo said.
Matt Skole, the organization’s minor league player of the year after hitting 27 home runs for Single-A Hagerstown, joins Rendon along with infielder Jason Martinson and outfielder Brian Goodwin, a former first-round pick.
Pitchers Aaron Barrett, Paul Demny, Cole Kimball and Ryan Perry round out the Nationals’ contingent. Kimball, returning from rotator cuff surgery, and Perry, transitioning from reliever to starter, both have big league