First of all, stop reading this. Stop right now and read it after you run to your waiver wire and pick up Juan Soto. Then come back to find out why.
Got him? Excellent.
The Nationals have called up outfield prospect Juan Soto from Double-A Harrisburg following an Achilles injury to veteran Howie Kendrick on Saturday afternoon. The severity of the injury is not yet known, but it will likely end Kendrick’s season. The Nationals could have made a safe call and promoted one of many players in their minor league system as a stop-gap, but they decided to promote young Soto. This is a big deal.
Many fantasy owners may not know who Juan Soto is. You might be thinking: “Hey I thought Victor Robles was their top outfield prospect.” Well, yes. But, he will sadly be missing a large chunk of the season due to an injury of his own (elbow). That being said, Soto is possibly the more exciting prospect regardless.
The 19-year-old started the 2018 season in Low A-ball. He has since been promoted to High-A and Double-A in short succession due to his complete mastery of hitting. Here are the young outfielder’s slash lines this season:
Low-A: .373/.486/.814 with a .538 wOBA and 24 RBI
High-A: .371/.466/.790 with a .547 wOBA and 18 RBI
Double-A: .296/.387/.556 with a .420 wOBA and 8 RBI
In case you were wondering why I was counting RBIs randomly, it is because the young outfielder has already driven in 52 of them. Fifty-two! Typically runs batted in are one of the most useless non-metric stats in evaluating a player. However, when it is May 20 and a player has 52 in the minors already, I will make note of it.
In Harrisburg (Double-A), Soto has gone 10-for-31 with two home runs and a .981 OPS after already hitting 12 home runs in the lower minors so far this season. He is hitting .362 overall with an impressive strikeout to walk ratio (28 strikeouts to 29 walks). That is an exciting stat to see out of a young power hitter. It is not a fluke either if you look at his injury-shortened 2017 season in which he batted .351 with a .919 OPS and similar plate discipline.
There is not a great deal of data to go on for Juan Soto so far in his young career. He is just 19 years old and has just 27 at-bats above A-ball. Does that matter? Nope. He has dominated at every level and has gained the confidence of the big team. Do not wait to see how this pans out while Soto sits on your waiver wire. Let another owner make that mistake. Regardless of the league you are in, regardless of the size and format, you have a player worth dropping to take a gamble on this kind of upside. Juan Soto is a difference-making, league-winning type of waiver wire add. I am all-in. If he hits at the major league level, he will stick and never go back.
Don’t overthink this one, go and grab him.