The Los Angeles Angels selected the contract of Double-A infield prospect Livan Soto prior to Saturday’s game against the Seattle Mariners. Amid injuries to David Fletcher and Andrew Velazquez, the Angels turned to one of the best gloves in their farm system.
Soto was not in the starting lineup on Saturday, but did find his way into the game, pinch-hitting in the eighth inning. He grounded out to the first baseman, but was still ecstatic to have gotten the call up the Majors.
Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said that Soto may get the chance to start Sunday’s game, and discussed his opinion on the 22-year old shortstop, according to J.P. Hoornstra of The O.C. Register:
“I haven’t gotten a chance to see him play much, except on video,” Nevin said of Soto. “But when I get in my office and a kid is that excited to be here, it’s pretty special for the whole room. He’s glowing, he’s on Cloud 9 as most guys are when they get called up to the big leagues. Those are special things to see.”
The Angels wound up with Soto after he was forced into free agency in 2017. He was originally brought into the Atlanta Braves organization as an international signing, but was one of 13 players that had to return to free agency when it was revealed that the Braves violated several rules regarding the international bonus pool.
Soto is seen as a glove-first prospect, who mightily struggled as a hitter prior to 2022. Since getting the call up to Single-A in 2019, he had not had a season in which he had an OPS above .651.
However, in 2022 with Double-A Rocket City, Soto was .281 with a .741 OPS in 119 games. His wRC+ of 104 is nothing to write home about, but getting a league-average batter in a player that has a borderline elite glove is always a bonus.
Over the next two weeks, the Angels may have the chance to see if Soto’s offensive improvement can translate itself to the big leagues. If not, he can continue to work his way through the Minor Leagues, as he has yet to see any action in Triple-A.
Fletcher placed on IL
After suffering a bone bruise in his hand one week ago, Fletcher attempted to stay on the roster and play through the injury. When Andrew Velazquez tore his meniscus, Fletcher was forced to bat as opposed to being a defensive replacement.
After three games of bunting for every at-bat, Fletcher was finally placed on the 10-day injured list with the hope he can return this season.