Juan Soto is Up! — Scouting Report and What to Expect in Fantasy
First off, before we go any further, go add Juan Soto if he’s available in your league. Unless you play in AL-Only, he needs to be owned everywhere. That’s how good this kid is. Yes, a slew of injuries to the Washington outfield had a lot to do with this call-up, but so did Soto’s insanely high level of play so far this season.
Juan Soto started the season with Single-A Hagerstown and quickly made it known that his stay in the South Atlantic League was going to be a quick one. In 59 at-bats, Soto hit .373/.486/.814/1.300 with five doubles, three triples, five homers, 24 RBI, and two steals. Those majestic 59 at-bats were enough for the Nationals to challenge the 19-year-old with more advanced competition in high Class-A.
“Challenge.” Ha! That’s a good one. Soto dominated there, too, with seven home runs and 18 RBI in just 62 at-bats. The slash line was just as impressive at .371/.466/.790/1.256.
OK, so Class-A in general is no match for the hitting prowess of Soto, so let’s try the Double-A Eastern League. That will surely present some sort of a challenge, right? Wrong! Soto had two dingers, 10 RBI, and a .981 OPS in 32 at-bats there before getting the call to Washington.
So, we’ve established that Soto’s bat is major league ready. But just how good can he be at the MLB level and what kind of impact can he make for fantasy owners this season? If you’re a Juan Soto owner, the answer will be highly satisfactory.
Soto has the offensive profile that kids dream of having when they’re playing little league. The type of skillset you create when making a superstar in video games. First, his contact skills are through the roof. His worst strikeout rate at any level was 16.7% (in 24 NYPL at-bats) and sits at 12.9% for his career. It’s easy to keep your strikeout rate low when you make consistently hard contact throughout the entire strike zone and can drive the ball to all fields.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to scout Juan Soto in person before his promotion, but I’ve watched enough video on him to make my eyes bleed. For a 19-year-old to have such a clean and efficient swing is truly remarkable. Soto has a wide beginning stance and uses a strong lower half, moderate leg kick, and quick bat speed to time pitches and generate easy power. His swing is quick and concise through the strike zone with a slight uppercut that generates natural loft. This swing is geared for hard shots into the gap and missiles into the outfield bleachers.
He might still be a teenager, but Soto has the ability to be a fantasy factor right away. His blend of power and contact should help him make a rather seamless transition into the Nationals lineup where he should hit somewhere in the middle of the order. He has a little bit of speed to go along with his abilities at the plate, but doesn’t project to be more than a 10-15 SB threat annually. But who cares when the offensive upside is .300-plus with 35-plus home runs?
Sit back and enjoy the ride.
Rest of Season Projection: .280/.360/.525, 19 HR, 60 RBI, 50 R, 6 SB (400 at-bats)