Nationals pitching prospect A.J. Cole was promoted from Harrisburg to Triple-A Syracuse on Friday, as he continues his development as one of the Nats' most promising minor leaguers.
Cole, 22, is considered the team's second best prospect after fellow right-hander Lucas Giolito and was ranked 69th among all MLB prospects by Baseball America prior to this season. Cole was taken by the Nationals in the fourth round of the 2010 MLB Draft out of Oviedo High School in Florida.
Cole has always had potential, but over the last calendar year has begun living up to the hype. Since his promotion to Double-A Harrisburg last July, Cole has gone 10-5 with a 2.63 ERA in 116 1/3 total innings with the Senators. In five minor league seasons he holds a 3.60 career ERA with 454 strikeouts in 437 1/3 innings.
If Cole succeeds at Syracuse, he could very well set himself up for a promotion to the majors by season's end. There is little room in the Nationals' rotation at the moment, but he should at least be in the conversation come September when rosters expand.
Cole spent some time in the Oakland Athletics organization after leaving the Nats in a trade for Gio Gonzalez in 2011. He later returned to the organization in the 2013 deal that sent Michael Morse to the Seattle Mariners.