Rookie Leagues Dish: Soto Stars Again


For the second time in a week, Neftali Soto (Reds) claims POTD honors. Soto has been the most impressive performer thus far in the Pioneer League and added to his resume with a 3-for-4 day on Sunday, including a pair of doubles. Soto, who the Reds drafted as a shortstop in 2007 has always been considered a prospect who would move to a different position as he matured because of his size and has made all his starts in Billings at either third base or DH.


Kingsport third baseman Richard Lucas (Mets) had been scuffling coming into Sunday’s matchup against Johnson City with only three hits on the year. But on Sunday, the Mets fourth round pick in 2007 broke out in a big way. Lucas went 2-for-6 with a double and a home run in the Mets 13-4 rout of Johnson City. Lucas chipped in three RBI in the win. Lucas began the year with Savannah in the South Atlantic league but struggled, hitting only .185 before being sent to Kingsport for the opening of Appalachian League play…For hot hitting Kingsport shortstop Wilmer Flores (Mets) it was just another day at the office on Sunday. Flores went 2-for-5 in the Kingsport victory with a pair of runs scored, along with an RBI…Elizabethton roared to a 10-2 win over Pulaski on Sunday, paced by a pair of Evan Bigley (Twins) home runs. Bigley, the Twins 10th round pick out of Dallas Baptist, has gotten off to a hot start in pro ball, batting .385 on the year…Most expected that Esmailyn Gonzalez (Nationals) would play in 2008 in short season or Low A ball, but Gonzalez is doing his best to impress in the Gulf Coast League. Gonzalez, who received a $1.4 million bonus from the Nationals in 2006, had a double in a 3-for-5 day on Sunday, bringing his average to .500 on the young season…Facing off against Gonzalez was highly touted Mets outfielder Fernando Martinez. Martinez, on a rehab assignment in Port St. Lucie went for 1-for-3 on Sunday…Orioles second round pick Xavier Avery is still looking for his first pro hit after going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in Sunday’s loss to the GCL Pirates…Avery’s teammate, Baltimore third round pick, L.J. Hoes (Orioles) made his pro debut Sunday, going 2-for-5 with an RBI…First round pick Aaron Hicks (Twins) made his GCL debut on Sunday. The former Long Beach Wilson standout got the start in centerfield on Sunday, going 2-for-4… Helena left fielder Erik Komatsu (Brewers) went 2-for-3 on Sunday. Komatsu, the Brewers 8th round pick out of Cal State Fullerton, had a pair of RBI, along with a double in Helena’s 3-2 win…

What to Watch for Today

Martinez will continue his rehab stint in Port St. Lucie tonight. He is rehabbing a right hamstring injury sustained on May 14th.