No. 2 Nats prospect: Juan Soto

Two outstanding outfielders round out the list of top 10 Nationals prospects for 2018, according to Baseball America: Juan Soto and Victor Robles.

This entry is devoted to Soto and his immense potential for this upcoming season. Baseball America national writer Carlos Collazo said injuries slowed Soto’s maturation process in 2017, but that only means that 2018 could be crazy good for the outfielder - if he can stay healthy. And more importantly, Soto, 19, is a different type of baseball player than Robles.

No. 2 OF Juan Soto

“Yes, he’s definitely different from Robles,” Collazo said. “He’s going to be compared to him just because they are in the same system. And they have a chance to be really big impact bats out of the Dominican Republic. But with Juan Soto, if he didn’t have the number of injuries that he had this year alone, more people would be talking about him outside of Nationals camp.”

Nationals-bag-bat-dugout-sidebar.jpgCollazo believes this could be a huge season for the Soto, who is entering only his third professional season. In two campaigns, he has played only 83 games, with only 32 games in 2017.

“He’s a guy that you should look for to have a breakout year,” Collazo said.

And the inevitable question posed by fans and scouts alike: What’s the difference between Soto and Robles?

“Offensively, (Soto) probably has more potential than Victor Robles,” Collazo said. “He’s definitely a corner guy in the outfield. That’s going to limit his overall value and ability to impact the game on both sides of the ball at a high level just because Robles has a chance to be a premiere center fielder. But Soto has more power in the bat at this point.

“He’s got extremely impressive hand-eye coordination at the plate and a very simple swing, so he has a chance to be a really, really impressive offensive player. Maybe not at the level of Robles, because he kind of has that all-around package but certainly more pop. Although Robles has demonstrated some power this fall (in the Arizona Fall League).”

But in summation, Soto has an opportunity to showcase his skills, especially at the plate, as he hopes to play a full season at an upper level against better pitching.

“Watch out for Juan Soto next year if he’s healthy,” Collazo said. “I think he dealt with a number of different injuries this year - fractured his ankle, broke a hamate bone, hamstring injury - so pretty much everything you don’t want to see from a health standpoint. But when he is on the field he is a game changer.”

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