- Full name Steven Jeffrey Souza Jr.
- Born 04/24/1989 in Everett, WA
- Profile Ht.: 6'4" / Wt.: 225 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Cascade
- Debut 04/13/2014
Drafted in the 3rd round (100th overall) by the Washington Nationals in 2007 (signed for $346,000).
View Draft ReportAnother Washington State signee, third baseman Steven Souza, was attracting attention as the next-best hitter in the state after Travis Mattair. Souza has plus bat speed and leverage in his swing, with a pro body and sufficient athleticism. His run and throw tools grade as average. Some scouts question his maturity and makeup, and many more wonder if he has the hands to stick in the infield. It won't matter if his bat plays as his supporters contend it will, with power to all fields. Organizations that don't mind raw, toolsy players--the Pirates and Nationals come to mind--could take Souza in the first five rounds.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Since the Nationals restarted Souza's career by sending him back to low Class A in 2012, he has matured, on and off the field. He followed up his 2013 breakout in Double-A by leading the Triple-A International League in hitting (.350), on-base percentage (.432) and slugging (.590), and he reached the big leagues in September. The physical, athletic Souza has multiple tools that rate better than average. His plus raw power plays in games because he excels at driving balls into the right-center field gap, and the Nationals would like to see him pull the ball with authority a bit more. Souza controls the strike zone fairly well, taking his share of walks and putting himself in good hitter's counts. He has a short swing and projects as at least a fringe-average hitter. He also has slightly above-average speed and is a smart baserunner who likes to steal bags. His speed translates to good range at either outfield corner, and his plus arm allows him to handle right field ably. Souza has nothing left to prove at Triple-A Syracuse, but he appears blocked for an everyday job in Washington, where Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper and Denard Span are entrenched in the outfield. He has a strong chance to be an everyday player given the chance. Did not play
Maturity issues undermined Souza's ability to maximize his tantalizing raw talent for the first few years of his career. As he grew up, he rejuvenated his career with a breakout 2012 campaign, then performed well in Double-A in 2013, though he missed time with an oblique injury. Souza is a physical specimen with multiple loud tools. He has 65 raw power and is capable of hitting home runs from pole to pole. A former third baseman, Souza has found a home as a corner outfielder, where he is a solid-average defender with a plus arm. He's also a slightly above-average runner with good baserunning instincts. If Souza hits, he has the tool set to be an everyday right fielder. He has done a better job staying in his legs and maintaining a balanced swing, helping him drive the ball to all fields. Souza can hit premium velocity, but his swing still has some length, making him vulnerable against offspeed stuff. He couples his high strikeout totals with an improving walk rate, though he remains a fringe-average hitter. He should advance to Triple-A in 2014. Washington retained Souza by adding him to the 40-man roster this fall, preventing him from becoming a minor league free agent.
The Nationals have raved about Souza's raw tools since they signed him for $346,000 in 2007, but scouts have questioned his maturity for years. He hit a low point in 2010, when he broke his thumb and served a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. He struggled to make consistent contact in 2011 and had to repeat low Class A as a 23-year-old last year, but he turned a corner and earned a promotion to high Class A. Physical and athletic, Souza has three above-average tools in his raw power, speed and arm strength. He used to be a tall, erect hitter who got off his back side quickly, but he did a much better job incorporating his legs and using the whole field while slashing his strikeout rate last year. Scouts still worry about his pitch recognition and holes in his swing, doubting he'll have the aptitude to hit in the majors. Souza responded well to a move to the outfield in 2012 after playing third base and first base earlier in his career, but he has a lot to learn in order to become an average defender there. He has the raw ability to be an everyday big league right fielder, but he's 24 and must prove himself above the Class A level first.
Minor League Top Prospects
A late-bloomer with upside, Souza logged eight years in the minors before finally making it to the majors in 2014. He led the IL in the modern triple-crown categories (batting/on-base/slugging) to help Syracuse finish with the best record in the IL. Souza combines good speed with raw power, and his easy righthanded swing allows him to drive the ball to all fields. Souza adopted an up-the-middle approach that has helped him cut down on his strikeouts and make better use of his power. A National League scout projects him to hit 15-20 home runs, while Souza's average speed can be described as "deceptive," as one scout put it. Drafted as a third baseman, Souza shifted to the outfield in 2012 and plays all three spots effectively, profiling best in right field with his plus arm.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Power Prospect in the International League in 2014
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the International League in 2014
- Rated Best Baserunner in the International League in 2014