Steven Souza might've had one of the quietest high-impact performances last year, as his upside was finally realized. The righty launched 27 of his 30 home runs against right-handers, doing away with concerns that he could only occupy the small side of a platoon. There were other positive signs: Souza greatly improved his success rate on the basepaths (80 percent, up from 54 percent), he more than doubled his walk rate (from 6.6 percent to 13.6) and he chased fewer pitches outside of the strike zone (24.4 percent O-Swing%). Unfortunately, he still had a sub-70-percent contact rate, and those issues combined with his pull tendencies will limit what he'll offer in terms of batting average. In leagues that count on-base percentage, investors will gain a safer floor to pair with his combination of power and speed.
Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo hinted Thursday that Souza (pectoral) would likely be sidelined until around mid-May, Zach Buchanan of The Athletic Arizona reports. Though Lovullo's commitment to the mid-May timeline wasn't firm, it appears nonetheless that the Diamondbacks aren't counting on Souza returning from the 10-day disabled list during the first month of the season after the outfielder suffered a right pectoral strain while attempting to make a diving catch in Wednesday's Cactus League game against the Giants. Per Buchanan, an MRI on Thursday revealed that Souza suffered between a Grade 1 and 2 strain of the pectoral muscle, which will prevent the 28-year-old from taking part in baseball activities for at least a week or two. While Souza is sidelined, David Peralta could shift over from left to right field, which would likely open up more at-bats for fourth outfielder Jarrod Dyson in the other corner spot. Dyson still seems likely to hit the bench against lefty pitching, so right-handed hitters Chris Owings and Yasmany Tomas could pick up corner-outfield starts in Dyson's stead in those scenarios.
Souza has been diagnosed with a right pectoral strain and manager Torey Lovullo said that he will likely start the season on the disabled list. This is disappointing news with Opening Day right around the corner as the Diamondbacks will likely start the year without one of their biggest offseason additions. Souza left Wednesday's Cactus League game with an upper-body injury that was initially believed to be shoulder-related, but it has since been determined that he's dealing with a pectoral injury. Once the Diamondbacks make a final decision on whether or not to place Souza on the DL, a firmer timetable should come into focus. Look for Jarrod Dyson and Yasmany Tomas to see the bulk of the starts in left field until Souza returns to the fold.
Souza was diagnosed with a strained right shoulder following his departure from Wednesday's Cactus League game against the Giants. He'll undergo an MRI on Thursday. Once the results of the MRI are read, the Diamondbacks should have a better idea on a recovery timetable for Souza, but for the time being, he'll be viewed as day-to-day. The injury is less-than-ideal timing with Opening Day a week away, so if Souza is forced to begin the season on the disabled list, more at-bats in left field would open up for Jarrod Dyson and Yasmany Tomas.
Souza exited Wednesday's spring game with an apparent injury after attempting to make a diving catch, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Souza appeared to be in a lot of pain before getting up and walking off the field with trainers. According to Zach Buchanan of The Athletic Arizona, he was holding his shoulder while exiting the contest. Specifics regarding the injury remain unclear at this point, but more should be known following the conclusion of Wednesday's contest.
Souza went 2-for-3 with a home run, double and three RBI in Thursday's 11-6 win over the Brewers in Cactus League play. In addition to supplying his first long ball of the spring, Souza flashed some skills with the glove, robbing Travis Shaw of a hit with a diving grab and then doubling off Lorenzo Cain at first base. Though he hasn't graded out as a plus defender during his time in the big leagues, Souza nonetheless represents a major improvement in that regard over Yasmany Tomas, who regularly saw action in left and right field over the last three seasons. With that in mind, Souza should have plenty of security in a full-time role, despite Tomas offering similar power production.