WASHINGTON -- Nationals prospect Juan Soto has missed most of this season with an ankle injury, but he showcased his hitting savvy and speed enough to enter MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list for the first time, joining No. 5 prospect Victor Robles as the Nationals' representatives in the midseason update.Soto,
WASHINGTON -- Nationals prospect Juan Soto has missed most of this season with an ankle injury, but he showcased his hitting savvy and speed enough to enter MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list for the first time, joining No. 5 prospect Victor Robles as the Nationals' representatives in the midseason update.
Soto, who's ranked No. 42, is slashing .360/.427/.523 in 23 games with Class A Hagerstown this season. The 18-year-old outfielder didn't play for about two months between May and June, but he flashed his potential at the start of the year.
Robles, who began the season as the No. 8 prospect, finished in the top five of the Carolina League in on-base percentage (.377), slugging percentage (.495), doubles (25) and triples (seven), leading to a promotion to Double-A Harrisburg on Monday. The 20-year-old center fielder has been lauded for his athleticism and smooth swing since Washington signed him in 2013. While he may not make an appearance with the Nationals this campaign, he's in line to be a franchise player.
Reliever Erick Fedde began the season ranked as the No. 60 prospect, but he has since fallen out of the rankings and dropped from the Nationals' No. 2 prospect to No. 3. The right-hander notched a 3.04 ERA in 17 appearances, including seven starts, with Harrisburg at the beginning of the season, but he's pitched to a 5.57 ERA in 10 games since being promoted to Triple-A Syracuse in mid-June. Still, the 24-year-old could contribute to the Nationals' inconsistent bullpen near the end of the season if he improves.
Shortstop Carter Kieboom is still the Nationals' No. 4 prospect after starting the season at that spot. The 19-year-old began his second Minor League campaign on a tear, slashing .333/.398/.586 with 20 RBIs and six home runs in 29 games, but he's been on the disabled list since mid-May with a hamstring injury.
After getting drafted in June, relievers Seth Romero and Wil Crowe are the Nationals' No. 5 and 6 prospects, respectively, despite Romero not playing any games yet. They were Washington's first- and second-round Draft picks, and despite the team's wavering bullpen, general manager Mike Rizzo said in June the newcomers likely won't be promoted to the Major Leagues this year.
The ranking of baseball's top prospects is done by MLBPipeline.com Draft and prospect experts Jonathan Mayo, Jim Callis and Mike Rosenbaum, who compile input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, proximity to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. Only players with rookie status are eligible for the list. Players who were at least 23 years old when they signed and played in leagues deemed to be professional (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Cuba) are not eligible.
Kyle Melnick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington.