Hundreds of baseball players make their debut over the course of a season. However, for every Ronald Acuna and Scott Kingery there are dozens of lesser known prospects making their debuts who aren’t as frequently discussed. To remedy that, Austin Bristow II, Adam Garland, Ben Palmer and I will be doing a write-up on every single player making their MLB Debut. Inspired by the Effectively Wild podcast and Andrew Perpetua, we’ll discuss each debut’s skill set, how long they will likely remain in the majors and any other pertinent information you need to know. Each player will also be stored in a spreadsheet featuring further information (bio, D.O.B, player ID’s, etc) that can be accessed at the bottom of the article.
Here is the lone debut from May 20th:
Juan Soto (OF, Washington Nationals, 19 years old)
Call Up Date: May 20th
Role: Bench Depth
Organization Ranking: 2nd
Overall Ranking: 15th
Grades: Hit: 30/55 | Raw Power: 55/60 | Game Power: 30/55 | Run: 45/50 | Fielding: 40/50 | Throw: 55/55
Fantasy Relevance: Worth a flier
So far this year, the 2nd best prospect in the Nationals farm system has been absolutely mashing in the minors. Soto is slashing .362/.462/.757 across A, A+ and AA and the Nats could no longer ignore his 14 HR and 52 RBI over 152 AB. Soto originally signed with the Nationals for $1.5 million – a franchise record for an Latin American teen at the time – at 16 years old. He’s a lefty with a smooth swing and an ability to barrel the ball consistently. While he projects to be an average corner outfield defensively, Soto makes a good amount of hard contact and has above average bat speed. If he can continue to add power in the Majors, he has a very high ceiling. For now, the difficulty for Soto will be adjusting to Major League pitching. He only had one AB in his first game as he was brought in to pinch hit and struck out. With the injuries to Howie Kendrick and Adam Eaton, I don’t see him being sent down any time soon but if yesterday’s debut against Alex Wood is any indication he may very well be platooned against left-handed pitchers. Even still, if you have the room for Soto and K’s aren’t punished too much in your league, he has a high enough upside that he should be added to your squad.
Missed a player’s debut? Read detailed reports on all 2018 MLB debuts in this spreadsheet.
“Role: Bench Depth”
I almost couldn’t even read beyond that. I applaud the Nats for bringing up Soto. They seem to realize they are in a win-now situation and called upon the best available option.
But there is no way in the world they brought up a 19 year old top prospect in baseball to be “bench” anything. This is not a Barreto or even earlier this season Tyler O’Neil type of deal. This guy was one of the more sought after international prospects coming out, and has massive upside. He has walked more than he has struck out in his career. If he didn’t miss last season due to injury, this call up wouldn’t seem half as surprising. In today’s game you can’t find too many power bats who also have elite hit tools… this dude is one of them.
I hear you. The fault is mostly in how we’re trying to categorize these players right now. For example, we have like 6 – 8 terms that we’re sticking too but we’re expanding them as we progress with this nascent article. I think something like Platoon bat may be more useful but I’m not too sure if we’re adding that to the article’s vernacular.
I agree though that Soto will get some everyday at-bats at least when a righty is on the mound at first and hopefully transitioning to a full-time role moving forward. I think the reason I sided with bench depth was because of the aforementioned lack of terms and also the reticence to put him in the lineup right away against lefties.
Either way, your point is noted: we need to add to the language we can use for the article. Thanks for the feedback!
That’s fair. I didn’t realize you were choosing from a few selected terms. I guess I would understand even more if you wouldn’t have also replied with “I think something like Platoon bat may be more useful”.
I still think that is even being much to conservative. I am not saying you should come out and say that he’s a superstar already, but I don’t really think portraying the urgency that people should have in trying to acquire and value this guy. It isn’t like we are swimming in entirely foreign water here with Soto. In 121 games Soto had a 361/.433/.608 in 121 games with 22 homers and 100 RBIs, Bryce Harper on the other hand slashed .300/.397/.521 with 23 homers and 75 RBIs in 139 games. I’m not saying he’s Harper, but I’m not saying he’s not. Again, I don’t think the Nationals are dumb enough to bring him up to platoon, bench bat, or any other term like it. He’s up because they are lacking guys in the outfield and his performance made him the best option available. He’s here to play.
Also, I know this isn’t a one day results kind of league, but today with his 1st pitch opposite field home run, I was already shaking my head thinking man he’s going to be a star. So I will also understand when others opinions will start changing by the at bat with this guy.
I’m only talking to this current season too. I don’t even want to get started on the long term outlook here.