Arizona Fall League Assignments Now Official

Not much in the way of news this week, but in yesterday’s transactions post from Baseball America, the Arizona Fall League assignments were made official:
• RHP Aaron Barrett
• RHP Paul Demny
• CF Brian Goodwin
• RHP Cole Kimball
• SS/3B Jason Martinson (taxi)
• RHP Ryan Perry
• 3B/SS Anthony Rendon
• 3B Matt Skole

The biggest change, of course, is the swapping of Christian Garcia and Cole Kimball, who has apparently healed enough from the injury that cut short his rehab tour in early to start throwing again. The 27-year-old is attempting to come back from rotator cuff surgery and could be potentially pitching to keep his spot on the 40-man roster.

When I last saw him, he looked like a shell of his previous self: his fastball like your weird uncle’s wardrobe (stuck in the 80s) and his command, which has never been mistaken for Jordan Zimmermann’s (subject of a prospect retro by John Sickels), even worse. Taking chances on hurt pitchers is what has netted the Nats pitchers like Garcia and Ryan Mattheus, though you could make the argument that Kimball was hurt in the first place when the Nats pushed him (and Adam Carr) in the AFL in the fall of 2010.

Most folks, of course, are curious regarding a rumored position switch of Anthony Rendon to second base. There are two other 2Bs on the roster of the Salt River Rafters (Tyler Bortnick, Diamondbacks; Carlos Sanchez, White Sox) and while one of them is a 25-year-old that appears to be a Rule 5 tryout (Bortnick), it’s only speculation at this point.

Matt Skole and Brian Goodwin will join Rendon as the position players assigned by Washington, with Jason Martinson serving as this year’s taxi squad player, eligible to play twice a week. Bryce Harper (2010) and Zach Walters (2011) served in this capacity over the past two fall campaigns.

Ryan Perry presumably will continue his transition to starting from relief while it appears that Paul Demny is doing the opposite, based on his removal from the Harrisburg Senators rotation in August as well as his struggles all year long (insert obligatory reference to youth and hard-throwing here). Aaron Barrett, who is not Rule 5-eligible, will continue to refine his stuff after posting a 3-2/2.09/0.92 pitcher’s line (if it doesn’t exist, then I’m coining it) with 17 saves in 2012.

The 2012 season begins on Tuesday, October 9th with Salt River hosting the Mesa Solar Sox.

Author: Luke Erickson

Since 2009, Luke Erickson has been chief writer, editor, and bottle-washer of Potomac is his home base as a season-ticket holder, but he has visited every affiliate north of Florida at least once, with multiple trips to Hagerstown and Harrisburg.

13 thoughts on “Arizona Fall League Assignments Now Official”

  1. Luke — can anyone explain how the teams that the Nats play for is chosen? Last year, they played with Scottsdale. This year they’re playing with Salt River. Does it follow a predictable rotation or does it change every year? Thanks in advance.

    1. This is the third AFL season I’ve followed and it’s first time it’s changed from Scottsdale, so I don’t think there’s a rotation. I also don’t think it matters all that much, either. The AFL is mostly for scouts and prospect junkies.

  2. Hubby and I will be going to AFL..need opinions of 6 or 8 “must get” autographs. We plan on seeing all teams. Thanks

    1. Hi Jane, welcome to NP! The 2 players I’d be most excited to see would be Rendon & Goodwin.
      Everyone says the sound coming off Rendon’s bat is very different and Goodwin, while probably destined to spend most if not all of 2013 in Harrisburg, is potentially a big time star.

  3. As a 20 game plan STH since ’05, my usuall preoccupation with the AFL will be replaced with other matters, hopefully through Nov. 3.

  4. If Rendon is the elite prospect that the Nats believe him to be (as evidenced through the $6 million bonus, and the accelerated promotion to AA and AFL despite injuries), and they are moving him to 2B, that tells me that either Desmond (with Espinosa moving to SS) or Espinosa will be on the trading block this off-season.

    You do not move your best position player prospect to a position where the organization expects another player to be a 10 year fixture.

  5. Does anyone know of where I can get my hands on an Instructional League schedule? i’m leaving next sunday late….I know i’ll get a game on the 10th barring bad weather, hoping for a Monday or Tuesday game, too.

  6. Whatever happened to Matt Purke? It’s good to see Kimball again. He has a tough road, for sure, and you have to wonder if Purke is even further from being able to play than Kimball is.

    Thanks, Luke, for all you do to keep us informed about the doings down on the farm.

    1. Best-case scenario: He’s had shoulder surgery and will resurface in 2013 in Auburn, a la Nathan Karns.
      Worst-case scenario: They’ve been trying PT to improve whatever is ailing him and they won’t decide until next year surgery can’t be avoided and he’ll lose another season, a la Manuel Banuelos.

      What I don’t understand is the subterfuge and silence for Purke when they’ve been forthright about the likes of Lucas Giolito and Sammy Solis. It’s already well-established that the Nats are willing to gamble on high-upside players that are hurt or have a history of fragility. They’ve also had some success with those gambles that, in my mind, ought to be used to defend themselves. Imagine this at the end of the Giolito presser:

      The Nationals also announced today that 2011 3rd Rd. pick Matt Purke will require surgery.

      “It’s disappointing because we went to great lengths to make sure Matt was healthy before we drafted him,” Rizzo said, adding “but pitchers are difficult to predict and often get hurt. We’ve taken some chances lately, and we hope that Matt can come back like Ryan Mattheus did last summer and make strides the way Christian Garcia has been making for Syracuse this summer.”

      Maybe I’m wrong, but I have a strong feeling that it would have worked, if indeed Purke has had surgery. So far, I’ve heard more from the SB Nation blog “Frogs of War” than anyone else. This is the latest dispatch, which in sum is “The latest news on Purke is that there is no new news.”

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