This morning the Washington Nationals promoted outfield prospect Juan Soto from Low-A Hagerstown in the South Atlantic League to High-A Potomac in the Carolina League. Most of the time a Low-A-to-High-A roster move garners little attention but Soto is not an ordinary prospect. We get a lot of questions about him here at Minor League Ball, so the promotion is a good time to weigh in again.
Soto was off to an excellent start with the Hagerstown Suns, hitting .373/.486/.814 through 16 games. This really isn’t a surprise: he mashed the same level in 2017 at .360/.427/.523 but his run there was limited to just 23 games due to injuries. He’s now played 99 professional games between rookie ball and Low-A, hitting .364/.431/.581 with 25 doubles, 13 homers, 43 walks, and 51 strikeouts in 360 at-bats.
Obviously that’s terrific. It’s all genuine, too.
Our own Wayne Cavadi saw Soto in person a few weeks ago and filed this report, noting a “simplistic” but smooth swing that generates explosive all-field power. He doesn’t seem to have any consistent issues with strike zone judgment, only having problems in the game Wayne saw against highly-deceptive lefty Thomas Burrows. That was just one at-bat and Soto is 9-for-18 with two homers against lefties this year, so I don’t think this is a real problem.
Pre-season I had Soto at Number 40 on my Top 175 prospects list but noted that he could be a top ten prospect with a healthy season. Well, he’s healthy, and yes, he’s moving up destined for the Top 10 if he keeps ripping, which I think he will.
Prediction: he’ll be in Double-A by August.