7/23/2014 11:00 P.M. ET
Nats farmhand Cole exhibiting elite command
Organization's No. 2 prospect works seven scoreless innings vs. Buffalo
By Teddy Cahill / MLB.com
Right-hander A.J. Cole, the Nationals' No. 2 prospect, threw seven strong innings on Wednesday, leading Triple-A Syracuse to a 5-0 victory at Buffalo.
Cole, ranked No. 54 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list, struck out six batters, walked none and allowed three hits. Wednesday marked his third straight start without issuing a walk, a streak that spans 20 innings.
Cole began the season with Double-A Harrisburg and earned a promotion in late June after posting a 2.92 ERA and a 61-to-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 71 innings.
Since joining Syracuse, Cole has gone 3-0 with a 2.64 ERA. The 22-year-old has struck out 24 batters and walked three in 30 2/3 innings.
Outfielder Steven Souza, the Nationals' No. 14 prospect, went 2-for-5 with a stolen base in Wednesday's victory. He is hitting .360/.430/.582 with 22 stolen bases in 89 games. He leads the International League in hitting, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, and he ranks third in stolen bases.