This season that breakout player could well be outfielder Juan Soto.
Soto absolutely tore through the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and then didn’t miss a beat with an outstanding showcase week with the short-season Single-A Auburn Doubledays.
Baseball America also noticed the work of Soto, as he is in their top 10 Nats prospects list. As a matter of fact, he is a top three prospect as an 18-year-old.
No. 3: OF Juan Soto
Baseball national writer Teddy Cahill said the 51 games Soto played in 2016 for the GCL Nats and Doubledays were brilliant.
“I mean it was really incredible,” Cahill said. “This was a guy signed last year, so he just turned 18 a few months ago. He played this year as a 17-year-old and was named MVP in the Gulf Coast League when he was younger than most of the players there. It was a really impressive debut. That was the guy they were looking to get when they signed him.
“He was known for his hitting ability and that figured to translate well to pro ball, but to be able to do that and come to the U.S. and make that transition is not easy for the young Dominican players, or for any players for that matter. And at Auburn, it was only a handful of games, but he wasn’t out of his element there either.”
Soto combined to hit .368 with 14 doubles, three triples, five homers with 28 runs and 32 RBIs. He hit .429 in six games for Auburn.
“He was very impressive and as he physically matures a little bit, we will see more power,” Cahill concluded. “Definitely one to watch. Not as good a defender as Robles, or not that kind of an athlete, more of a corner outfield profile, but if he continues to do that at the plate, it’s not going to matter whether he is a right fielder or a left fielder or whatever. That’s pretty loud.”