Fantasy Baseball Reaction: Pick up prospect call-up Juan Soto right now
Nationals prospect Juan Soto is getting the call sooner than anyone expected, but Scott White says you shouldn't hesitate to add the 19-year-old in Fantasy Baseball.
Stop what you're doing and pick up Juan Soto.
The Nationals didn't make this complicated, and neither should you.
Howie Kendrick left Saturday afternoon's game with an Achilles injury -- what's looking like a season-ender -- and just hours later, the word came down:
That's even though he's 19 years old, even though he began this season in low Class A and even though he played just 32 games in the lower levels of the minors last year because of injuries.
Folks, he's that good.
Too good for the minors, anyway. He has proven it with every step up the ladder this season -- a season already split between three levels. The most recent of those levels was Double-A, where he went 10 for 31 (.323) with two home runs and a .981 OPS. In all, he's batting .362 with 14 home runs, a 1.218 OPS and more walks (29) than strikeouts (28).
Normally, that last stat would be my favorite. I dig me some sluggers who get on base and control the count. But I'm going old school with my favorite for Soto. Acknowledging it's not terribly predictive and grows dustier with every new metric Statcast and FanGraphs produces, I nonetheless feel compelled to point out that in a little more than a month's time ... Soto has 52 RBI.
Oh yeah, he does.
We had an inkling he could be great. In those 32 games he did manage to play last year, he did some similar things, walking more than he struck out with a .351 batting average and a .919 OPS. Ditto in 51 games as a 17-year-old in 2016 (when he had a .368 batting average and .973 OPS). But we didn't know if a larger sample size would water down those numbers, if a move up the ladder would water down those numbers. And we didn't think he'd clarify so decisively so soon.
But his readiness he has made it loud and clear -- so loud and clear the Nationals know not to beat around the bush with it. When they look up and see the Braves settling into first place on the backs of three 20-year-olds, what do you know? Suddenly, 19 is the new 25.
I'm buying it. I'm buying him -- I'm buying all of it. They'll figure out who plays center field when Adam Eaton returns. Maybe Eaton. Maybe Bryce Harper. Maybe against all odds, it'll be Soto himself. But the bottom line is if he hits, he sticks.
So now's when you make the play for him. You don't pass up the opportunity at this kind of upside. If it goes wrong, hey, you dropped somebody for nothing. But you know what? Regardless of the depth of your league, you can always find a player as good as the worst on your roster. This I firmly believe.
The Nationals think they have something special here, and we should follow their lead.
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