David Goldman/Associated Press
MLB: 21 G, .100/.097/.133, 0 HR, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Triple-A: 62 G, .293/.341/.406, 2 HR, 20 2B, 26 RBI
Given that the Reds don't know when Joey Votto will be back, Neftali Soto is a virtual lock to get called up when rosters expand.
The Reds don't have a primary first baseman on the roster without Votto. Right now, Bryan Price is forced to use Brayan Pena, Todd Frazier and Jack Hannahan at first base. Soto may not get a lot of playing time when he is called up, but he would still give the team a legitimate first baseman.
Coming up through the system, Soto has been touted as a big hitter. The right-handed-hitting first baseman hit 31 home runs in 2011, but he had only hit about 15 long balls in each of the past two seasons before 2014.
This season, his power has gone missing. His average (.288) continues to improve, so he has at least been able to make up for a lack of power with a solid average.
Soto has posted back-to-back excellent springs. He hit .345 last spring and followed that up with three home runs and a .383 average this year. Unfortunately, his bat hasn't done much when he's made appearances for the Reds in the regular season. He has a .071 average with only one extra-base hit in 42 career at-bats in the majors.
Getting the young first baseman some more at-bats at the end of this season could go a long way in helping him develop as a hitter. If he is able to show that he has made some adjustments, he could also regain some trade value.
Cincinnati needs depth at first base, so look for Soto to be brought up next month.