Monday, November 25, 2013

Random Topps Pro Debut Card of the Week: 2013 Topps Pro Debut #158 Matthew Skole

It's Minor League Monday!!! Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Pro Debut Card of the Week:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 2013 Topps Pro Debut #158.
  • Player Name, position, team: Matthew Skole, third baseman, Hagerstown Suns.
  • Level-League, Team Affiliation: A-South Atlantic League, Washington Nationals.
  • Minor League Stats (stats with team depicted only): 101 G, 343 AB, 73 R, 98 H, 18 2B, 0 3B, 27 HR, 92 RBI, 10 SB, 94 BB, 116 SO, .574 SLG, 1.013 OPS, .286 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Nationals #5th, June 2011. Bats: left. Throws: right.
  • Major League Debut: n/a.
  • Baseball America Organizational Ranking After Season with Team: Washington Nationals #4 prospect after the 2012 season.
  • Blurb on the back: "Skole's trophy cases filled up quickly in 2012, as the second-year player claimed South Atlantic League MVP and organizational Hitter of the Year honors. He made the choices easy by recording the third-most home runs and RBI ever by a Washington Nationals farmhand. The Georgia Tech's toolbox is headed by serious power and an extreme ability to draw walks."
  • Official Topps Rookie Card: n/a.
  • Commentary: I'll be honest. I don't keep tabs on prospects. That's nothing new. When I write the commentaries of the minor leaguers depicted on the cards, I go online to see to both baseball-reference (the good old standby) and Baseball America websites to try and get an idea of what a player is like. When I saw that Matthew Thomas Skole only appeared in two games for the Harrisburg Senators, the Nat's AA team in the Eastern League, my first thought was, oh no, he got released. But why? Even with a .200 average in five at bats (seven plate appearances), he managed two rbi's, two walks, and his lone hit was a double. So what gives? Then I read the article about him "starting over" in the Arizona Fall League. That intrigued me to read more. It turns out that on the second game of the season, he suffered an elbow ligament tear that put a kibosh on his entire season. While he'd rather forget the circumstances that caused him to sit out for the year, it's what he did during his down time that actually made me like where his story is headed. He stayed in Florida while his the season was going, working hard but not using his elbow for the first few months. He was told "You lost a season of at-bats but you also have an opportunity to do some things physically that you otherwise wouldn’t be capable of doing," by the Nat's director of player development Doug Harris. So he kept on working out, activities that were not baseball related. He learned to cook, which, if you're a minor leaguer on a fixed stipend, could be better than eating out all the time on the road. By the time September came, he was ready to participate in baseball activities, enough so that he could get some games in the instructional league. Soon he was ready for another stint in the Arizona Fall League. He made up for lost time during his month in the AFL, and was recently named the Nationals' #4 prospect by Baseball America, despite missing the entire season. Things can only look up for Skole, who could see himself back in Harrisburg or even AAA-Syracuse in 2014.
Next week's featured card will be: 2011 Topps Pro Debut #129. Post will arrive at 9:00 AM CST. Hope you enjoyed this week's installment of Minor League Monday.


JayBee Anama

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