The Los Angeles Angels are set to undergo a bit of a youth movement in a few areas around their roster, and Livan Soto has quickly provided an unlikely spark at the tail-end of the season.
Soto isn’t regarded as a top prospect in the Angels’ organization, and prior to his call-up to the Major League roster ahead of their Sept. 17 game against the Seattle Mariners, he was ranked as their No. 18 prospect.
Mainly known for his defensive talent at shortstop, Soto has quickly shown why his barrel control at the plate was a talent that piqued the interest of evaluators around MLB. Through 50 plate appearances, he’s posted a .413/.429/.630 slash and a 198 wRC+, including seven extra-base hits.
Soto is only 22 years old, and with so much room to grow physically, his immediate success is starting to validate the path he’s taken to the Angels, via Jeff Fletcher of MLB.com:
“It does shock me what I’ve been doing here,” Soto said through an interpreter. “I know that in the minor leagues I wasn’t hitting as good as I am right now, but I’m thankful for the hard work I put in and the results are coming through.”
Signing on with the Angels when he was 17, Soto has progressed through their system and before his promotion, was batting .281/.379/.362 with six homers, 17 doubles, and 18 stolen bases in 119 games with Double-A Rocket City this season.
Soto will continue to receive playing time up the middle for interim manager Phil Nevin’s lineup as the club continues to evaluate their prospect pool, just as they’ve done recently with their No. 1 prospect.
Livan Soto and Logan O’Hoppe helping out Angels
Logan O’Hoppe is the leading candidate to back-up Max Stassi in 2023, so the final eight games of the season could serve as a primer.
O’Hoppe made his MLB debut against the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night, setting up behind the plate with Michael Lorenzen as the starting pitcher. As a catcher, O’Hoppe had a mixed bag debut, making a couple of nice plays, but also allowed two stolen bases.
At the plate, O’Hoppe logged his first MLB hit in his first at-bat. After swinging and missing on two sliders to begin the appearance, he settled down and worked the count to even before ripping a 2-2 sinker up the middle for a single.
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