Tsuyoshi Nishioka hasn’t played since going 0-for-12 with a half-dozen fielding mistakes in last week’s three-game series against the Indians and not surprisingly the Twins have optioned him back to Triple-A.
The move was made to clear a roster spot for Trevor Plouffe’s return from the disabled list, as the slugging third baseman has missed the past three weeks with thumb problems.
Nishioka was as bad as a major leaguer could possibly look and it’s unclear why the Twins bothered to call him up in the first place considering he was awful at Triple-A this season and terrible in the majors last season. Whatever the case, we’ve probably seen the last of him in a Twins uniform and perhaps the last of him in the majors, although by optioning Nishioka to the minors instead of designating him for assignment the Twins have left him on the 40-man roster.
Nishioka has hit .215 with zero homers and a .503 OPS in 71 games for the Twins while making 15 errors defensively. He’s owed $3 million next season as part of a $15 million investment by Minnesota.
The Nationals recalled 19-year-old outfield prospect Juan Soto from Double-A Harrisburg on Sunday, per a team announcement. Soto is poised to become the youngest player in the league once he makes his official debut with the club, and the Nationals’ first teenager to enter the majors since Bryce Harper made his first appearance back in 2012.
Entering the 2018 season, Soto was ranked no. 2 in the Nationals’ system and 15th overall. He’s certainly lived up to the hype during his first two years of pro ball, blazing through Single-A, High-A and Double-A levels in 2018 alone. While he logged just eight games at the Double-A level prior to his promotion to the majors, he proved consistent across all three levels this spring and slashed a cumulative .362/.462/.757 with 14 home runs and a 1.218 OPS in 182 plate appearances.
It’s not entirely clear how soon or in what capacity the Nationals will utilize their youngest player, but Soto’s tear through the minors is sure to pave the road for a few opportunities on the big-league level. He’ll be available off the bench for Sunday’s series finale against the Dodgers.