There is hot. And then there is Steven Souza Jr.
Somebody please cast him in the “Fantastic Four: Part II” as the Human Torch.
The Nats Twitter world (thanks @jimatwitt) talks about him a lot and his statistics don’t lie.
In the last 10 games at Triple-A Syracuse, Souza is hitting .475 (19-for-40) with six doubles, one triple, two homers, six stolen bases and 14 RBIs.
For the season, Souza is hitting .371 in 72 games with 20 doubles, two triples, 21 stolen bases, 13 homers and 60 RBIs.
He was called up early in the season to the Nationals and played in eight games with a base hit and a walk.
It is easy to say, “Call him up, the Nationals could use him.” And they could, since Souza has a nice combination of hitting, strength and speed, and does a nice job on defense. He is 6-foot-4 and 225 lbs., close to the size of Jayson Werth and his 6-foot-5, 240 lb. frame.
But he is blocked in right field because of Werth. Souza could be valued as a bench bat and super sub. He could also be considered as high trade value. But the Nationals don’t have that many major league-ready power bats in the system, so his value at home is much higher right now.
Laffey has the second-most wins in the IL with 11 so far. He is 11-3 with a 3.15 ERA in 17 games (14 starts) with 67 strikeouts and 33 walks. Laffey has won six straight decisions and is 7-1 with a 2.34 ERA in his last 10 starts.
Laffey has 68 starts in the majors and 153 games overall. He was 25-29 with a 4.45 ERA, mostly with the Indians since 2007. He has also pitched for the Mariners, Yankees, Mets and Blue Jays.
He is another major league-ready hurler from the left side who can protect the Nationals if they have an injury or if they need him as trade value.
It will be interesting to see how Souza and Laffey do in their All-Star Game, alongside Hill and Solano, who have also had opportunities recently to play for the Nationals. The IL All-Stars will face the stars from the Pacific Coast League.
The Triple-A All-Star Game will take place on Wednesday, July 16 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C.. The game can be viewed on MLB Network beginning at 7 p.m., Eastern time.