It hasn’t gotten any attention because of Billy Hamilton’s record-breaking stolen base numbers, but a second prospect cracked triple-digit steals in the minors this season.
Delino DeShields Jr., whose father played 13 seasons in the majors and was once traded straight-up for Pedro Martinez, stole 101 bases in 135 games between two levels of Single-A in the Astros’ farm system.
Like his dad, DeShields Jr. is a second baseman with very good on-base skills and amazing speed, and in addition to all the running the No. 8 overall pick in the 2010 draft hit .287 with a .387 on-base percentage at age 19.
Hamilton broke the all-time minor league record by stealing 155 bases in 132 games and was thrown out 37 times for a success rate of 80.7 percent. By comparison DeShields stole 101 bases and was thrown out 19 times for a success rate of 84.2 percent.
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.