Minors

Is Neftali Soto moving to third base?

It appears that the Reds are considering moving prospect Neftali Soto to third base. Soto was drafted as a shortstop, and the Reds flirted with making him a catcher before shifting him to 1B. With Joey Votto blocking his path to the majors, this isn’t a surprising move.

Soto has always had a big bat, with plenty of power. The worry has always been that his on-base skills weren’t great. I’m not very high on him as a prospect, but others are, and I’m never correct, so that’s a good sign. We’ll see if he gets any reps at third in the near future.

12 thoughts on “Is Neftali Soto moving to third base?

  1. I like the idea, the more versatile he can be, the more likely he will be valuable at some point (either for trade or for the bench). I see him as a right handed version of Juan Francisco, which isn’t good or terrible thing.

  2. If Soto can handle 3B as well as perhaps even some OF duties, he becomes far more valuable to the Reds or another MLB team. His power could easily make him a decent PH and corner utility kind of player.

  3. The article talks about Soto dealing with back spasms this past season. I think the Reds organization should go ahead and get each of their teams a Yoga Teacher to improve their back health.

  4. Interesting. The Reds do need some minor league depth at 3B though.

    @sunbreakthedawn:
    I agree. I saw an exercise instructor on the Golf Channel a couple of months ago, and he was talking about how important it is for a golfer to stretch out the back muscles and most importantly the Oblique muscle. The first thing I thought of was that the Reds should hire this guy for their strength and conditioning staff. He said every golfer should have an extra long golf club shaft in his bag about 6-7 ft. long. No club head on it. Then he showed different stretching exercises. The torque needed on both the baseball and golf swings is great. The way the Reds have had problems with those Oblique muscles in the past. It was an interesting watch as I related it to the Reds.

  5. Personally I think they should do whatever they can to increase Neftali Soto’s trade value and then ship him out of town ASAP, like they did with Juan Francisco. Maybe they can get something in return before other teams realize that the guy can’t hit well.

  6. Soto is actually the position for which Soto has played the second most games at in the minors. He’s played in the field for 506 MiL Games, 311 at 1B, 148 at 3B, 36 at SS, 10 at C, and 1 in RF.

  7. Soto took my walks last year than any previous season of his career, which is interesting. It’d be nice to see this become a trend.

    Looking at his stats, I think he’s more comparable to Todd Frazier than Juan Francisco. I just don’t put much faith in his first 2 or 3 seasons given his age at the time.

  8. I think the comparison to Juan Francisco is satisfactory in that he’s an extra player who they have no use for. He spent most of 2011 in AA hit .278 with 31 homeruns on the season, but in 2012 he hit .245 with 14 homeruns. Yes, a career high for walks, but also a career high for strikeouts.

    If they can sell some team on the idea that he can hit 30+ homeruns again I hope they trade him. He’s not the Reds’ 1b of the future, or the 3b of the future… he’s just a guy to fill a minor league roster spot.

  9. Soto has been a .300+ OBS and .700+ OPS at AA/AAA (basically 2 full seasons).

    This is a big year for him at AAA both a hitter and fielder. If he could play 3B or LF, the Reds might have a spot for (remembering that Frazier can play LF in addition to 3B).

    It is not like the Reds have a long line of guys with pop and good OBS stats waiting in line to step up and take Ludwick’s spot after the 2014 season.

  10. @OhioJim:
    I have a feeling that stellar defense at 3b isn’t what got Neftali Soto moved to 1b, and the Reds tend to value good defense. They also seem high on 3b Henry Rodriguez, even if he lacks ‘pop’.

    I think the Reds have plenty of time to come up with a replacement for Ryan Ludwick in LF before his contract is up. Jesse Winker, perhaps. Or Ryan LaMarre. Or somebody else. Maybe somebody they get in a trade for an extra starting pitcher.

  11. Due to the fact that the Reds position player core of Votto, Phillips, Bruce, Cozart, and Frazier will all being around for the next 5 years and the likelihood that Hamilton will occupy CF for the Reds through 2020, there is really only two spots open (not counting catching). Left field and utility.

    There was much consternation last year after the Reds traded away the farm (myself included). But everyone who is in the farm system now is competing for those two spots. Frazier is my favorite player but if they can find a better player to occupy 3rd daily, Frazier would make a VERY solid utility player. So will Henry Rodriguez I think. If they think Soto makes a better every day player at 3rd than Frazier than so be it.

    Another year at AAA will tell the story.

  12. There is more to why an organization will invest in a player than what we see. All we see are stats and highlights (unless of course you see them every day from the bleachers). Perhaps the organization like Soto’s make up. Perhaps they see a correctable problem which they think will transform him from the player he is today to the player they want tomorrow. Perhaps they are just trying to add to his market value so that they can trade him. I like the speculation, but with the Reds being pretty much set for the next 5 years I can’t get too excited about any position player in the system right now.

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