The Angels have claimed infield Livan Soto off waivers from the Orioles, per an announcement from both teams. Anaheim placed left-hander Jose Quijada on the 60-day injured list to make room for Soto on the club’s 40-man roster. The Orioles had designated Soto for assignment earlier this week to make room for infielder Diego Castillo (who was coincidentally DFA’d himself earlier today) on the 40-man roster.
Soto’s sojourn to Baltimore was a brief one, as he returns to the Angels just over two weeks after the club designated him for assignment to make room for right-hander Jose Cisnero on the club’s 40-man roster. The 23-year-old infielder is considered a quality defender at not only shortstop but also second and third base, having spent time considerable time at each position during his professional career. He also boasts solid contact skills, as indicated by a strikeout rate of just 19.3% across six seasons in the minor leagues, though he sports minimal power with just 24 career home runs between the majors and minors.
Soto’s big league experience has been minimal to this point in his career. Though he appeared in majors with the Angels in each of the past two seasons, slashing a strong .375/.414/.531 along the way, that production has come in just 71 trips to the plate spread across 22 games in the majors. That incredible slash line has been bolstered by an unsustainable .469 BABIP throughout his big league career, making his career slash line of just .245/.339/.332 in the minor leagues likely closer to Soto’s true talent level.
Even if Soto can’t maintain his small-sample production in the majors, he still offers plenty of value to the Angels as a left-handed bat with quality defense all around the infield. It’s possible to imagine Soto competing for a bench role on the big league club this spring with the likes of Michael Stefanic and Kyren Paris. If Soto doesn’t secure a role on the Opening Day roster, the Angels will have the ability to option him to the minors and stash him as depth to protect against future injuries.