In 16 games and 74 plate appearances at Low-A Hagerstown, Washington Nationals’ outfield prospect Juan Soto put up a .373/.486/.814 line with five doubles, three triples, five homers, 14 walks, and 13 Ks before he was promoted to High-A Potomac in the Nats’ system.
“Obviously, he’s so advanced for his age,” Mark Sciallabba, the Nationals’ Director of Player Development, told MiLB.com after that promotion was announced.
“To have success very early in his career shows what’s he capable of. Hopefully he can grow even more in the future, but right now, he’s a very special man of hand-eye coordination, power, strength in his swing. It’s exciting to see him healthy and strong on the field this spring. He’s somebody who has an impact bat and hopefully is a National for a long time.”
Signed out of the Dominican Republic to a $1.5M bonus in 2015, Soto put up a combined .368/.420/.553 line between the Gulf Coast and New York/Penn leagues in 2016, but had injuries derail his 2017 season, limiting him to just 32 games and 123 PAs between Low-A and the GCL.
Soto entered the 2018 campaign healthy again, however, and he’s continued to crush at the plate after the promotion to Potomac.
Over the course of his 15-game stay there, the Nats’ 19-year-old outfield prospect put up an impressive .371/.466/.790 line, three doubles, seven home runs, 11 walks, and eight Ks in 73 PAs.
“It’s been fun to watch,” P-Nats’ skipper Tripp Keister told MiLB.com last week.
“He has good at-bats. He hits balls hard. He gets himself in good counts. He hasn’t chased. When he puts a good swing on it, it [goes].”
This afternoon, Soto was promoted to Double-A Harrisburg, his third stop of the season.
1 month, 3 teams.#Nats No. 2 prospect (@MLB No. 16) Juan Soto, arguably the hottest hitter in all of @MiLB this season, has been promoted for the second time in 18 days, from @PNats42 to @HbgSenators.— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) May 10, 2018
Check the 19-year-old's numbers: https://t.co/05bM0kcBeL pic.twitter.com/jiG6IONt8F
That’s some aggressive movement for the Nats’ prospect. Sciallabba told MASN’s Byron Kerr in an article yesterday that Soto has played some center field recently to get exposure in each of the outfield spots, and the power he has shown so far, Sciallabba said, is just the “tip of the iceberg” as Kerr put it:
“The power is still blossoming but he wants to be a complete player. He works extremely hard on the defensive side of the ball. He’s always working hard on his base running as well, learning how to read pitchers.”
Opposing pitchers in the Double-A Eastern League will provide the next test for Soto.
“Soto has the makings of a middle-of-the-order hitter and a potential batting champion at maturity,” MLB.com’s scouts wrote this winter in their scouting report on the outfielder, who landed at No. 2 on their list of the Top 30 prospects in the Nationals’ system, “...especially if he can continue to add power in the coming years.
“Even if he doesn’t, the bat alone could make him an impactful regular in the big leagues.”