Right fielder Juan Soto has torn up the Gulf Coast League in his 45 games. So much so that the Nationals have promoted the 17-year-old corner outfielder from rookie level to short-season Single-A Auburn.
Soto has hit .361 with 11 doubles, three triples, five homers, five stolen bases and 31 RBIs with the GCL Nats. Soto should end up leading the GCL in average, slugging percentage (.550) and OPS (.960). He likely will be second in on-base percentage in the league (.410). The lefty-hitting right fielder is 6-foot-1, 185 lbs., from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Soto has hit .500 (18-for-36) in his last 10 games and has had at least a hit in 18 of his last 19 games.
Nationals director of player development Mark Scialabba says the organization has been very impressed by the advanced talent Soto has displayed this season at the rookie level.
“His barrel control, discipline, maturity, and confidence are beyond his years,” Scialabba said. “He’s an extremely professional young man with above average raw power and has an impressive ability to consistently barrel up the baseball in all parts of the strike zone. He understands who he is as a hitter and has a very high ceiling.”
High praise for a 17-year-old in GCL play. There are not many games left for Auburn, but this will give Soto a test to see how his talents play at an advanced level and give him a head start for next season. He will also get to play in the offseason, most likely in some form of winter league competition.
Soto was signed July 2, 2015 and is currently ranked as the No. 15 Nats prospect by MLB.com.