By now, you may have heard about Juan Soto. But if you haven’t
you may be F.P. Santangelo, here’s a quick summary: Believe the hype.
Having followed the Carolina League for 13 seasons, the guys who end up making it are not that hard to spot. They look like men among boys, which in this case is almost ironic because for most of you reading this, you’re probably thinking: he’s just 19 – he is a boy!
But he’s not. That’s the first thing that strikes you when you see him. He looks much older (Now before you go all Smiley on me, here’s his pic from his DPL days when he was almost 17) both physically and in his approach at the plate.
It’s tempting to just say: well, they’re pitching around him. And they are. But here’s what he’s not doing: striking out.
For two seasons now, he’s had more walks than whiffs and while sample sizes are still tiny (32G last year, 27G this year, 110G total) when you see him in person you understand why. He takes what you give him and does not chase.
I’d love to compare him to Bryce Harper at the same stage, but thanks to the Nats tendency at the time to hide their uber-prospects and Prince William County’s parsimony (compared to PWC, the Lerners are like Bill & Melinda Gates) I never got to see Harper as a minor-leaguer. So, sorry.
But if you’re looking for flaws, I can find some. He’s in right field, but he’s not a right fielder; he just doesn’t have the arm (truth be told only one of the current Potomac outfielders does and his name is not Rhett Wiseman) or the legs.
That’s about it.
He’s got the power, perhaps more than scouts have previous given him credit for, but that may be negated once he starts facing truly good pitching, which generally means Double-A and above. Now, the game is to see how he’ll handle the league once they get a second and third looks and vice-versa.