Eastern League Player of the Week: 1B Neftali Soto – Nationals
For the Week of 5/23 – 5/29
The season hasn’t quite gone the way the Harrisburg Senators had planned but it’s still early. This week they tried to gain some ground on the Eastern League Western Division leader Altoon Curve. That didn’t happen, but going 3-3 on the week brought them closer to third place and the Akron RubberDucks. One player that helped them was Neftali Soto. His contributions to the Senators helped him get named Legends on Deck Eastern League Player of the Week.
Soto was certainly a bright spot for Harrisburg going 10-for-24 (.417). He scored four times for the Sens’ adding three doubles and three bombs while driving in five. If that wasn’t enough, Soto is currently sitting on a 16-game hitting streak. Seven of those games have been multi-hit games including a 3-for-5 performance this week (May 27th) against Richmond. He has also raised his average from .292 to .318 during his streak.
Neftali was an originally drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the third round of the 2007 draft. Soto had plenty of success in the minor leagues for the Reds leading up to his eventual promotion to the big leagues in 2013. Unfortunately the success didn’t follow him. He appeared in 13 games for the Reds and went hitless in 13 plate appearances. He’d get another opportunity in 2014, and even though he recorded his first MLB hit, his struggles at the highest level continued.
Soto was traded for cash to the Chicago White Sox in the offseason of 2015. He’d spend just one season in that organization before being released and signing on with the Washington Nationals. He did get up to their Triple-A affiliate in 2016, but that would be the highest he’d reach so far.
In 2017 Soto’s hitting line is .318/.366/.568 with an OPS of .934. He has eight home runs and 36 RBI in 45 games. In his career he has played in over 1,000 minor league games registering 127 home runs so the power is certainly there. It wouldn’t be a stretch to think he’d reach Triple-A again at some point this season, but beyond that it is unknown.
Congratulations to Neftali Soto on being named Legends on Deck Eastern League Player of the Week.
There happened to be two former PotW winners that were under consideration again this week. Bowie’s Garabez Rosa and Reading’s Scott Kingery. Both of them turned in weeks worthy of discussion and frankly could have been either of them again.
There were three pitchers that didn’t quite do enough to win, but did enough to be mentioned. Altoona Curve’s Sean Keselica pitched in 6.2 innings giving up three hits and not allowing a run while striking out 10. He recorded a hold and a save as well. Erie SeaWolves Myles Jaye threw 11 innings and struck out 18 but didn’t factor in a decision this week. Although he allowed a couple of runs, James Farris of the Hartford YardGoats recorded three saves giving him nine on the season, which is good for second in the league.
Another player under strong consideration was Miguel Andujar of the Trenton Thunder. On the week he was 11-for-25 with 8 RBI, but in the end the three bombs by Soto was what put him ahead of the others. Andrew Guillotte of New Hampshire just made his way to the Eastern League this week. After stints in Dunedin and Buffalo, Guillotte went 11-for-21 with a home run and 2 RBI.