The Orioles announced that they have claimed Livan Soto off waivers from the Angels. The Halos designated the infielder for assignment on the weekend. The O’s had a vacancy on their 40-man roster but it is now full after this move. Daniel Álvarez-Montes of El Extrabase reported the claim prior to the club announcement.
Soto, 24 in June, is generally considered a strong defender and solid contact hitter, but with little power to speak of. He made his major league debut in 2022 and hit a tremendous .400/.414/.582 in his first 59 plate appearances, though that was largely the product of an unsustainable .500 batting average on balls in play. He only received 12 big league plate appearances last year and hit .222/.417/.222 in those.
That’s a small sample of work and tough to draw conclusions from. Over the past three years, he has made 1,470 trips to the plate in the minor leagues. He drew walks in 12% of those but only hit 22 home runs, leading to a combined slash line of .247/.341/.356 and 87 wRC+.
As mentioned, he’s considered a strong defender, having spent significant time at the three infield spots to the left of first base. The O’s are looking for a left-handed hitting infielder to factor in at second base, per general manager Mike Elias, to pair with the right-handed hitting Jordan Westburg. To that end, they have acquired Nick Maton in a cash deal yesterday. Soto also hits from the left side and will likely factor into the competition for that part-time role.
Maton is out of options, which could give him a leg up in that competition but also could lead to him getting squeezed off the roster at some point. Soto has a couple of option years remaining and could be kept in the minors as depth until he’s needed in the big leagues. He’s still quite young and perhaps the O’s could find a way to coax some more power out of him going forward.