Not sure how much earlier the PR machine can push out the news (September 28th in 2010, September 10th last year), but today it was announced that the Washington Nationals Player and Pitcher of the Year honors will go to 3B Matt Skole and RHP Nathan Karns.
Photo Credit: Potomac Nationals
Both players split time between Hagerstown and Potomac, with a considerable contingent upset that the promotion of Skole came only slightly faster than Mississippi’s ratification of the 13th Amendment.
Skole was named the Sally League’s MVP late last week and 3B for the Postseason All-Star team. He led the Sally League with 27 HRs and a slugging percentage of .574 and has a combined line of .292/.427/.562 and 104 RBI entering play today. Skole was a 2011 fifth-round pick out of Georgia Tech and led the New York Penn League in RBI with 48 in 72 games last summer.
Karns spent too much time in the Sally League to garner either an All-Star nod or postseason honors from the Carolina League, but led the Potomac starters in ERA (2.26), WHIP (1.02), and strikeouts (87). Combined, Karns went 11-4 with a 2.17 ERA, 2.09 FIP, 1.01 WHIP with 47BB (3.65/9) and 148K’s (11.48/9). Karns was 12th-round pick out of Texas Tech but underwent shoulder surgery in 2010 and did not pitch for the Nationals until last summer, when he went 3-2 in 13 starts in the GCL and Auburn.
At 23 (in late July) and 24 (turning 25 in November), Skole and Karns will have high expectations from fans next year to produce similar results at subsequent levels, particularly for Skole, who appears to be playing second fiddle to Anthony Rendon in the 3B depth chart… unless he is converted to another position. Karns, who was shut down after hitting an unspecified innings limit, will represent a more difficult decision for the front office of deciding whether to continue developing him as a starter or, as speculated last offseason, whether he’ll be converted to relief to accelerate his ascent to AAA and/or D.C.
The two are slated to be honored on Friday night in Nationals Park prior to the Nationals game with the Miami Marlins.