Although Livan Soto made his Major League debut for the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday, his first career start came on Sunday against the Seattle Mariners. And immediately, he began making an impact after leap-frogging from Double-A to the Angels.
In his first at-bat of the day, Soto hit a 1-0 fastball into the outfield to leadoff the third inning with a single. He would score his first MLB run when Luis Rengifo hit a two-run home run, his second homer of the day and fourth since Friday.
Then, in the seventh inning, Soto took to the plate with the Angels leading 3-1 and Mike Ford on base. Soto then clubbed the first pitch he saw 388 feet over the right field wall for a two-run home run, his first MLB big fly. In total, Soto contributed two runs, two hits, and two RBIs in a 5-1 Halos victory.
Soto described the emotion of his first Major League start, as well as the instant success that came with it in the form of a 2-for-3 afternoon, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“I was so happy, because everyone’s dream is to get their first hit,” Soto said through an interpreter. “It helped me settle my nerves a little bit. And then I got the homer, and when I was running the bases, my legs were kind of shaking. But I was so happy.”
Rengifo, who went 2-for-4 with two home runs and the other three RBIs, focused more on Soto’s debut following the Angels’ third consecutive victory over the Mariners.
“I was so happy for him,” said Rengifo. “He’s from Venezuela, too. I know him from Venezuela and we train together. I know what kind of talent he has. He has pretty good hands and he has his mind right. I’m just so happy for him being here and helping the team win.”
It’s a small sample size, of course, but Soto is now slashing .500/.500/1.250 through his first two MLB games. And although those numbers are likely to decrease as he gets more at-bats, it’s an impressive start for a player who had not even seen a pitch at the Triple-A level.
Soto had also recently lost his place among the Angels top 30 prospects. He ranked as high as 18th, but was no longer considered that way due to the inconsistencies with his bat. But his first full MLB game showed that he is a more than capable hitter.
Soto was on “cloud nine” after receiving call up
Soto received the call to join the Angels shortly before Saturday’s game. He barely made it to the stadium in time for first pitch, and even got into the game as a pinch-hitter. It was an emotional week for Soto, who was “on cloud nine” before recording his first hit and home run on Sunday.