Another quick reminder during #EndNF month that you’ll want to read our Get to Know NF post, The Nats Blog’s follow up post, and today’s post from Patrick Reddington on Federal Baseball. Also, dont’ miss Matt’s Bats post also posted today.
Name: Steven Jeffrey Souza, Jr.
Nickname(s): None that I could find
DOB: April 24, 1989
From: Everett, Washington
Position: Bench Outfielder
With the Nats Since: Drafted by the Washington Nationals in the third round of the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft.
Just Who Is This Guy?: Touted as the Nationals’ No. 10 prospect by Baseball America for 2014 and ranked as the No. 14 overall prospect in the Nationals’ system by MLB.com, Souza Jr., can play any position in the outfield. He is a free-swinging hitter with a tendency to strike out quite a bit. However, Souza Jr.’s bat does have a lot of power potential, giving him the skills to hit to all parts of the field. If he can make constant contact, he has the chance to be a great outfielder. Since that has yet to be seen, Souza Jr. will likely be a fourth outfielder/platoon type guy.
What Happened in 2013: Playing for Double-A Harrisburg last season, Souza Jr. appeared in 77 games and had a .300/.396/.557 slash line for the Senators. To go with his .300 batting average, Souza Jr. hit 15 home runs, drove in 44 RBIs and was 20-for-26 in stolen base attempts. Out of his 82 hits, 39 went for extra bases.
In the field last season, Souza Jr. started in right field the majority of the time, spending 72 games there. In the remaining five games, he played flawless defense in centerfield. Overall, he only committed three errors, all while playing right field for the Senators.
What’s expected in 2014?: Given the rash of injuries to the Nationals’ outfield this season, Souza Jr., got his call-up to the big leagues on April 12. He was initially called up when Denard Span was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion. On April 15, entering the game in the seventh inning as a defensive replacement in left field, Souza Jr., notched his first MLB hit, a single up the middle off of Miami Marlins’ pitcher Dan Jennings. More recently, Souza, Jr. was called up for the second time this season when Bryce Harper was placed on the 15-day disabled list. He got his first start on April 30 against the Houston Astros, going 0-for-4 during that contest, striking out twice while manning right field.
During his brief time with the Syracuse Chiefs in 2014, Souza, Jr. has a .333/.463/.545 slash line in 11 games. Although it is a small sample size, he has also hit two home runs and driven in 10 RBIs.
If It All Goes Right: During pinch hitting opportunities and defensive substitutions, Souza Jr. will start to find his groove, allowing him more opportunities to play. By performing well and getting to play more, Souza Jr.’s confidence will skyrocket, making him even more of a potential threat at the plate and in the field.
If It All Goes Wrong: This isn’t necessarily bad, but with Scott Hairston on the mend, Souza Jr. might find himself back down in Syracuse to receive additional at bats he wouldn’t get while up with the Nationals. EDIT: As of 3:18 p.m. May 5, Hairston was activated from the DL and Souza, Jr. was sent to Syracuse. This would allow him to keep working on things; making him work harder to get back to “The Show” now that he has a brief taste of what it’s all about.