August 20, 2019

Washington Nationals acquire Trea Turner, Joe Ross from Padres; send Steven Souza to Rays

According to multiple sources, the Washington Nationals completed a three-way deal with the San Diego Padres and the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Nats will acquire SS Trea Turner and RHP Joe Ross from San Diego and sent OF Steven Souza, Jr. and LHP Travis Ott to Tampa. Tampa sent Wil Myers and others to San Diego.

Turner and Ross are both former first round picks and were on the Padres Top 10 Prospect List.

Since Turner was drafted this past summer, he will have to be included in the deal as a “player to be named later” and will most likely play in extended spring training next season until the deal can be consummated.

Turner, 21, was the 13th overall pick by the Padres in last summer’s amateur draft. He hit .323/.406/.448 with four home runs and 23 steals in 27 opportunities between low- and high-A last year in 321 plate appearances. He grades out with 80 speed according to MLB scouts with the defensive ability to stick at shortstop.

Ross, 21, was the 25th overall pick in the 2011 draft by the Padres. In 62 minor league appearances (60 starts) he’s 15-18 with a 3.90 ERA, 1.308 WHIP, 7.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9. His strikeout numbers took a tick up last season moving from low- to high-A and he made four appearances in AA at the end of last season. According to one report, Ross features a plus fastball in the low 90’s with heavy life, a slider that projects as above average, and a changeup that is still mostly a show-me pitch.

Souza, 26 on opening day, enjoyed his career last season in Syracuse, hitting .350/.432/.590 with 18 home runs in 407 plate appearances. He will forever be remembered by Nats fans for making the spectacular diving catch to save Jordan Zimmermann’s no-hitter on the last day of the 2014 season.

Ott, 19, is a former 25th round pick in the 2013 draft. He’s 4-4 with a 3.96 ERA, 1.310 WHIP, 6.8 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 23 appearances, mostly in rookie league and short-season A ball. He’s a soft-tossing lefty with limited MLB upside.

This trade, as with last season’s deal for Doug Fister, is a bona fide and clear win for Nats GM Mike Rizzo. He moved an older prospect and a fringe at best lefty for two of the Padres top minor league prospects, both legitimate MLB talents. Turner obviously becomes the Nats best middle infield prospect, providing strong insurance if the Nats can’t — or won’t — re-sign Ian Desmond to a long-term contract. Ross is added to an already crowded stable of hard-throwing right-handed starters in the Nats minor league system.

Souza was clearly a fan favorite for his catch and power potential, but he had no place in the Nats outfield and, frankly, has limited MLB potential. He owns a long swing and is not a quality defender, despite his tremendous diving catch. The Nats got two of the three best players in this 11-player deal and didn’t give up the third. The Nats got better for the future without giving up any of the present.

Win-win for Rizzo and the Nats.

Washington Nationals Game 160 Review: Marlins win slugfest in spring training atmosphere

SOUZA HOMERS IN LOPSIDED LOSS AFTER EARLY CLINCHER

With homefield advanatage sewn up by virtue of their in in the first game of a day-night doubleheader on Friday, the nightcap took on a spring training feel, with Taylor Hill called up to make his Major League debut behind mostly minor league teammates.

Hill struggled, as did Miami Marlins starter rookie Andrew Heaney, and the slugfest went clear into the ninth inning as the Marlins topped the Nats 15-7.

The Marlins went right to work in the top of the first, as Christian Yelich walked, went to third on a single by Donovan Solano and scored on Casey McGehee’s RBI single. Three batters into his first start, Hill had already surrendered a run. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Honor Steven Souza Jr., Lucas Giolito and Wilmer Difo

While Wednesday evening brought with it thunderstorms severe enough to postpone the Washington Nationals game against the New York Mets, the team did announce that several of it’s top minor leaguers would be recognized prior to Thursday’s game.

Every year since 2005, the Nationals have handed out Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year awards. Starting in 2013, the Bob Boone Award was added to be given to the player that showed outstanding professionalism throughout the season. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Minor League Team-by-Team Awards

As the regular season comes to a close for minor league, District Sports Page now takes a look around the Washington Nationals’ organization and reflects a year that was in minor league baseball. (NOTE: These are not “official” awards. They have been selected by the writer.) [Read more…]

Washington Nationals’ Minor Leaguers Receive End of Year Honors

In the past several days, four players and one manager in the Washington Nationals’ organization earned awards for their spectacular performances on the diamond. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Minor League and Prospect Report for July 20th

Another week of minor league baseball is in the books. Here are players around the Washington Nationals’ organization that are making headlines. For this week, we’ll go over players that participated in All-Star Games, among others. [Read more…]

Four Syracuse Chiefs Named to International League All-Star Team

Via a team press release on Wednesday afternoon, the Syracuse Chiefs, the Washington Nationals’ triple-A affiliate, announced that catcher Jhonatan Solano, outfielder Steven Souza Jr., and pitchers Taylor Hill and Aaron Laffey have been selected to the 2014 International League All-Star team. [Read more…]

Syracuse Chiefs on impressive run in International League

The Syracuse Chiefs, Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, are on a remarkable hot streak of late. Per Kevin Brown, the team’s Director of Media & Public Relations, enjoy the following nuggets about the Chiefs’ surge in the International League.

The Syracuse Chiefs enter today’s homestand on a historic run of winning. Here’s a look at just how good times are for the Triple-A Washington Nationals…

  • Syracuse enters play Tuesday at 47-30. The Chiefs haven’t been 17 games over .500 since the final day of the 1998 season – September 7, 1998 – which Syracuse ended at 80-62.
  • Syracuse currently holds a 5.5-game lead on second-place Rochester in the I.L. North Division. That’s the Chiefs’ largest division lead since a six-game advantage on August 12, 1998.
  • Syracuse finished an eight-game season sweep of Durham yesterday, the first-place team in the South Division. Dating back to 1938, that’s the sixth time one International League team has swept the season series with another I.L. team, and first such occurrence in Syracuse history. It’s the first season sweep for an I.L. team since Rochester swept Toledo in 2012.
  • The Chiefs scored 40 runs in their four-game sweep of Durham which concluded yesterday. The Chiefs haven’t had that prolific of an output in a series since scoring 42 runs in the first four games of a five-game series with Pawtucket from August 29-September 2, 1996. (Syracuse scored 46 runs in total in the series.)

A few extra notes on Syracuse’s recent success…

  • Since May 1st, Syracuse’s 36-16 record is the best in professional baseball, one half-game ahead of 35-16 Hickory of the South Atlantic League.

  • Syracuse’s current seven-game winning streak is the Chiefs’ highest since a nine-gamer from June 18-26, 2012. Over the course of the streak, Syracuse has outscored its opponents 57 to 15 – an average score of 8.14 to 2.14.

  • Zach Walters returned to Syracuse from Washington on May 27th. Since that date, Walters’ 10 home runs rank tied for second in professional baseball, behind only Kris Bryant of the Triple-A Iowa Cubs.

  • Outfielder Steven Souza, Jr. currently leads the International League in all three slash-line categories: batting average (.363), on-base percentage (.456) and slugging percentage (.567). Souza’s batting average and on-base percentage with the Chiefs each rank second in professional baseball. No Syracuse player has led the International League in any of those categories since Kevin Barker posted a league-best .569 slugging percentage in 2005.

  • Syracuse hasn’t lost back-to-back games since May 17th and 18th, a streak of 34 consecutive games without back-to-back losses. While there’s no league record held for this streak, as a historical comparison, the 1998 New York Yankees (114-48) had a season-long streak of 31 games without back-to-back losses.

Washington Nationals’ Minor League and Prospect Report for Week Ending May 18th

As another week of minor league baseball comes to a close, here is an update on the Washington Nationals’ farm system. We’ll work our way around the organization, checking in with players that have already made this list, plus highlighting some new faces and prospects making headlines. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals 2014 Top 25 Prospects: No. 5 Steven Souza

In this series, District Sports Page has provide detailed scouting reports on our list of Top 25 Washington Nationals prospects. You can find our overview with the entire list here. We will now move into even further detailed reports for our Top 10.

Here’s our scouting reports on prospects Nos. 21-15, prospects Nos. 16-20 and Nos. 11-16.

And so far in the Top 10:

No. 10 Eury Perez
No. 9 Jake Johansen
No. 8 Sammy Solis
No. 7 Michael Taylor
No. 6 Zach Walters

Now without further ado, here is prospect No. 5, outfielder Steven Souza.

5. Steven Souza
Bats: Right, Throws: Right
Height: 6′ 3″, Weight: 225 lb.
Born: April 24, 1989 in Everett, Washington, US (Age 24)
Draft: Third Round, 2007

Hitting Ability Raw Power Power Frequency Plate Discipline Speed Baserunning Fielding Range Arm Strength Arm Accuracy O.F.P.
45/50 65/65 55/65 55/55 55/55 50/55 40/45 55/55 65/65 40/45 MLB Starter

About to turn 25, Souza is putting it together later than most top prospects. When the Nationals took him with the 100th overall pick back in 2007, they knew they were investing in a raw, player development project. A third baseman at the time, Souza offered rare potential for a third-round pick. He displayed vicious bat speed in pre-draft tryouts, a cannon arm, plus foot speed for a big kid, and his powerful, athletic frame certainly looked like it fit the bill for a power-hitting big leaguer corner infielder. But the former two-way high school star struggled to put it together on the field during his first few seasons in the pros. He hit just .191 with a .630 OPS in the Rookie Leagues and in A-Ball, and he made 36 errors through 90 games at third base during his first two seasons.

In 2010, Souza started showing more promise. He showed up to spring camp with a much stronger, leaner musculature and he started hitting with power right out of the gate. Just when he started to draw some positive attention though, he went down with a broken thumb. To add insult to injury, he was slapped with a fifty-game PED suspension that summer. Considering how much he’d struggled already in pro ball, the adversity looked like it might knock Souza’s baseball career out for the count. But the Nationals stuck with him and he responded well to the challenge. He put in the grit and work, and showed up in spring 2011 ready to start putting his athletic gifts to their best use.

Souza’s strong arm and plus athleticism got him a long look on the dirt, but after toiling to improve his hands and quickness for three years, the organization’s brass decided to have him move to an outfield corner and focus on developing his potentially special bat. Since he moved to the outfield grass in 2011, he’s been a far better hitter and overall player. At the plate with the Hagerstown Suns in 2011, Souza hit .290/.346/.576 and mashed 17 homers in his first 70 games. He was named SAL Player of the Week for July 2-8, promptly earning a promotion right after that. He finished out the year raking in the Carolina League, and ended up leading the Potomac Nationals in batting average (.319), on-base percentage (.421) and slugging (.560).

Last year, Souza was challenged with a promotion to double-A Harrisburg, a tough environment on right-handed hitters, and he responded better than the organization could have ever hoped. While overcoming nagging oblique strains, he mashed 15 home runs and 23 doubles in just 273 at bats en route to a hulking .256 isolated power. He rounded out his thunderous power numbers with a .300 average and .396 on-base percentage, while sprinkling in 20 stolen bases and solid right field defense to top his performance off.

Souza is strikingly similar to Michael Cuddyer for his size, right-handed power, approach  and a package that sports surplus athleticism but also a glove that has moved him off the dirt for good. Similarities abound. Souza’s powerful frame is laden with muscle, and he generates plus to plus-plus power to all fields. He has a quiet, balanced set-up, working the count and looking-off tough balls low and away. He’s a patient, poised hitter, and he doesn’t back off when he’s behind in the count.

Souza has huge raw power, showing off serious distance in batting practice and in games. When he gets his pitch, he uses his stone-solid trunk and ideal balance to generate scary bat-speed and pound the ball. He’s equally effective at hitting lefties and righties, and though he’ll swing and miss some, he can handle breaking pitches. The only knock on his power is that he’s more of a pure strength slugger right now, and could stand to add some more loft/back-spin to his swing. He also tends to choke up and take the ball to the opposite field instead of using a more leveraged swing.

Over time Souza has developed into a hitter that’s comfortable using the center of the field and the gaps rather than solely going after inside pitches and trying to muscle everything to his pull side. That’s an asset when it comes to competing against craftier veteran pitchers that will stay away from power hitters and nag them with off-speed pitches on the outside edge. He launches rockets to the opposite field on soft stuff low-and-away, and when he’s picking up the opposing pitcher well, there’s few fastballs he can’t get inside and send out of the park with big pull power. On the down side, his hard, aggressive cut and the hand-drop he employs as a timing mechanism will continue to lead to plenty of strikeouts–and may keep him from ever developing plus contact skills. But like Cuddyer, Souza has the tools to grow into well-rounded batting numbers in the big leagues, demonstrating enough hitting chops to bat .270+ with above-average on-base skills, 20-30 home-run power and high of extra-base hit totals.

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