Nationals' Soto moving up to Double-A

No. 16 prospect leads active Minor Leaguers with 1.278 OPS

Twelve of Juan Soto's 20 career Minor League home runs over three seasons have come in 2018 alone. (Terrance Williams/MiLB.com)

By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | May 10, 2018 2:00 PM

The Minor Leagues' most productive hitter through the first month-plus of the 2018 season is on the move. Again.

The Nationals are promoting No. 16 overall prospect Juan Soto to Double-A Harrisburg after spending just 16 games in the Class A Advanced Carolina League.

This will be Soto's third affiliate since the Minor League season began on April 5. Soto started out the season at Class A Hagerstown and hit .373/.486/.814 with five homers in 16 games before moving to Potomac on April 23. He made the most of his short stint with the P-Nats as well, hitting .371/.366/.790 with seven long balls in 15 contests. He hit the seventh homer Wednesday night and in so doing moved into a tie atop the Carolina League leaderboard in the category, despite being the only slugger in the top 10 to play fewer than 25 games in the circuit.

Video: Soto hits a blast to left field for a three-run shot

Overall, the 19-year-old outfielder is featured on a number of Minor League leaderboards. His .802 slugging percentage and 1.278 OPS are both the highest among active Minor Leaguers -- Jabari Blash's .850 and 1.291 are higher, but he's currently in the Majors with the Angels -- while his 12 homers rank second. His 243 wRC+ sits alone at the top among all qualified Minor Leaguers, beating out Peter Alonso (232).

Soto began at the Class A level after a fractured ankle, hamate surgery and a hamstring injury limited him to only 23 games with Hagerstown last season. He showed plenty of offensive potential in that limited look, hitting .360/.427/.523 over 96 plate appearances, and had no trouble carrying that performance over into 2018.

Because of the plus hit tool and plus power potential Soto has shown, MLB.com ranks him as the No. 16 prospect in the Minors. Only the injured Victor Robles (No. 6) ranks higher among Nationals prospects.

When Soto debuts for the Senators, he'll become just the second 19-year-old to appear in an Eastern League game this season. The other is New Hampshire third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who is five months younger than his Harrisburg counterpart.

Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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