It’s official: Zack Wheeler will open 2013 in Triple-A.
According to ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin, the top pitching prospect was formally reassigned to minor league camp on Sunday morning in Port St. Lucie. He made one appearance in the Grapefruit League, striking out two batters over two scoreless innings.
Wheeler, ranked 11th on Baseball America‘s most recent Top 100 prospect listing, posted a 3.26 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 148/59 K/BB ratio over 149 innings last season between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Buffalo. He was acquired from the Giants in the summer of 2011 for outfielder Carlos Beltran.
The 22-year-old righty is expected to make his major league debut before the All-Star break.
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.