Infield depth became a glaring issue for the Los Angeles Angels in 2022, which was more so apparent after they called up 22-year-old Livan Soto from Double-A at the backend of the season.
Soto joined the Angels late in 2017 at the age of 17, and after rising through the Minor League system, he joined the Rocket City Trash Pandas at 21 years old in 2021. He took a step forward at the start of this past season as a prospect, lowering his strikeout rate and nearly doubling his walk rate.
The leap in his plate discipline, and being a middle infielder, made him a prime target for the Angels front office to give a 22-year-old an opportunity in Major League Baseball. On Sept. 17 they called Soto up and he made his debut that night.
One night later in his second start against the Seattle Mariners, Soto slugged a two-run shot in the bottom of the seventh inning to extend the Angels’ lead to 5-1, his second hit of the day. The 2021 14th-ranked prospect in the system was proving his value to the club in an extremely fun fashion.
Soto went on to log a .400 batting average, .414 on-base percentage, and a .424 wOBA over 59 plate appearances with the Angels.
Livan Soto 2022 highlight
From Oct. 1-4, Soto logged a four-game stretch of nine hits in 13 at-bats, including three doubles, and six singles. He knocked in three runs and scored four while striking out just once. He also became a shortstop for the Angels when they needed it.
The Angels recently drafted Zach Neto with their most recent first-round pick, and they expect him to reach the Major Leagues in the next few years. But with general manager Perry Minasian providing free-agent reinforcements to the infield, Soto won’t have pressure to perform at the same level as this past season.
He most likely won’t be with the club to begin the year, but could absolutely see time later in the season, barring injuries.
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