Re: Baseball America's Top Ten Reds prospects
For some reason, Baseball America has not rated Soto quite as highly as I would expect, either in their Midwest League top 20 or the Reds top 10. Not sure why. When you watch him play and take his age into consideration, it is hard not to be tremendously impressed. He has one weakness in my opinion and that is the fact that he has below average speed. That being said, they are talking about him moving to left field, which I can't see for that very reason. He would have very limited range out there. You would not build a quality team with a left fielder with such poor range. Of course, the talk of him moving to the outfield is based on the lack of opportunity that may exist at third base, but I am not sure that Soto won't be the best of all the third base candidates.
If you watched Soto and Lotzkar with the Dayton team last season on a daily basis, I don't think anyone would have ever said that Lotzkar was the better prospect of the two. It does take pitchers longer, but Soto is so much farther along in terms of development at nearly the same age. I like Lotzkar, but you are talking about a guy who struggled to get his ERA under 5.00 while Soto was a guy who was hitting in the .320 range with extra base power. If you told the average Dragons season ticket holder from 2008, (a good fan but someone from the general population without a scouting background) that Lotzkar was a better prospect than Soto, they would tell you that you needed to be drug-tested. There is something to be said for the eyeball test.
I don't see the Blanco comparison. Soto has the bat speed to turn around a 95 mph fastball. He is not going to lose that. He is going to add strength and develop more home run power. He is a good kid who will work to get better. I remember a story from last season from Donnie Scott, talking about how impressed he was one day with Soto when he took a bad hop off the face during BP and was bleeding badly, went back to the trainer's room to get cleaned up, and was right back out there taking more grounders. That is something you don't see in a scouting report, but I will put my money on those kind of guys.