Steven Souza
Steven Souza
30-Year-Old OutfielderOF
Chicago Cubs
2020 Fantasy Outlook
Since his 30-homer season in 2017, Souza has played in just 72 games as he has missed time with the following injuries: sprained pectoral muscle, shoulder injury, back spasms, and most recently, his knee blowing up in the penultimate spring training game leading to him missing the entire 2019 season. He has lots of athleticism, but his aggressive style in the field has led to injuries throughout his career, which is why 2017 is the only season in which he has played in more than 120 games. He is a three-true-outcome guy as he will accept his walks, strike out in bunches and can hit the ball hard when pitchers make mistakes. The athleticism he has displayed is likely to take a hit coming back off a major knee injury, and it was not a surprise when Arizona non-tendered him. Souza needs to be in the American League where he can serve as a DH and stay out of the field for his own well being. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a contract with the Cubs in January of 2020.
Signs with Cubs
OFChicago Cubs  NRI
January 24, 2020
Souza and the Cubs are finalizing a deal Friday, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports.
ANALYSIS
According to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, it's a major-league deal that has a $1 million base salary and up to $2 million in performance and roster bonuses. Souza missed all of the 2019 campaign after tearing his ACL, LCL and PCL in spring training. He wasn't great in his most recent season, hitting .220/.309/.369 in 72 games for Arizona in 2018, a year in which he battled shoulder and back injuries. If healthy this season, he should at least make a decent bench option for the Cubs, but it would take a significant step forward in his age-31 season for him to become an enticing fantasy asset.
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Batting Stats
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2019
2018
2017
2019 MLB Game Log
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2018 MLB Game Log
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2017 MLB Game Log
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Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2017
 
 
+3%
OPS vs LHP
2019
No Stats
2018
 
 
+24%
OPS vs LHP
2017
 
 
+4%
OPS vs RHP
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2017vs Left .783 266 31 6 27 10 .256 .365 .419
Since 2017vs Right .763 623 68 29 80 12 .223 .327 .436
2019vs Left 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019vs Right 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2018vs Left .776 96 9 3 11 2 .244 .323 .453
2018vs Right .624 176 12 2 18 4 .206 .301 .323
2017vs Left .785 170 22 3 16 8 .262 .388 .397
2017vs Right .819 447 56 27 62 8 .230 .337 .482
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2017
 
 
+16%
OPS on Road
2019
No Stats
2018
 
 
+45%
OPS on Road
2017
 
 
+5%
OPS on Road
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2017Home .713 450 48 17 54 12 .199 .330 .383
Since 2017Away .824 439 51 18 53 10 .265 .347 .477
2019Home 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019Away 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2018Home .561 147 12 3 18 4 .164 .272 .289
2018Away .812 125 9 2 11 2 .283 .352 .460
2017Home .789 303 36 14 36 8 .218 .358 .431
2017Away .829 314 42 16 42 8 .258 .345 .484
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
Souza’s follow-up to his breakout 2017 campaign didn’t go as planned. Acquired by the Diamondbacks in late February, Souza strained his right pectoral diving for a ball in a March 21 Grapefruit League affair. His Arizona debut was delayed until early May. About three weeks later, he aggravated the shoulder and was out until July 4. Souza missed more time down the stretch with back spasms. On the field, Souza couldn’t get his power stroke going as 2017’s career-best 25.6% HR/FB plummeted to a measly 7.8%. The rest of his underlying metrics were close to the previous season so assuming Souza’s 2018 woes were largely health-related, there’s a strong chance he rebounds. Souza is a stealth source of steals but he’s an average drain with a K% just under 30%. If you can absorb that, Souza can help boost counting stats on the cheap. Just be ready with a replacement for the likely DL stint. He’s eclipsed 500 plate appearances just once, in 2017.
Souza might've had one of the quietest high-impact performances last year, as his upside was finally realized. The righty launched 27 of his 30 home runs against right-handers, doing away with concerns that he could only occupy the small side of a platoon. There were other positive signs: Souza greatly improved his success rate on the basepaths (80 percent, up from 54 percent), he more than doubled his walk rate (from 6.6 percent to 13.6) and he chased fewer pitches outside of the strike zone (24.4 percent O-Swing%). Unfortunately, he still had a sub-70-percent contact rate, and those issues combined with his pull tendencies will limit what he'll offer in terms of batting average. In leagues that count on-base percentage, investors will gain a safer floor to pair with his combination of power and speed.
Souza struggled to make consistent contact once again in 2016 before undergoing hip surgery in late September. He struck out in more than one-third of his 468 plate appearances while his contact rate languished at an unsightly 63 percent. Despite the difficulties, however, Souza did bump up his average 22 points to .247 in his sophomore campaign, while setting new career highs in home runs and RBI. The slugging outfielder's hip is expected to be fully healthy by the time spring training rolls around, so the hope is that Souza will be able to hit the ground running in the new season. With even a marginal improvement in plate discipline and better health, he could reach 20 homers for the first time while perhaps adding double-digit stolen bases.
The plan was to give Souza the everyday job in right field to replace Wil Myers. The Rays reportedly grew tired of Myers because of his issues at the plate and in the field and a perceived unwillingness to improve. Souza had some of the same issues himself in 2015 as he would take strikes to fall behind and then swing at balls out of the zone to get himself out. He flashed big power at times as he punished mistakes by pitchers, but good velocity up or breaking balls away were a problem for him all season long. He missed six weeks in the second half with a wrist injury, and that issue affected him at the plate the rest of the way as he had just five extra-base hits upon his return, but did hit .277/.385/.385 in those 78 plate appearances. He turns 27 very early into the 2016 season, and must start making more contact.
Souza had a massive campaign at Triple-A, hitting .350/.432/.590 with 18 home runs and 26 steals en route to being named the International League MVP as well as the Nationals' Minor League Player of the Year. However, it was his diving catch to preserve Jordan Zimmermann's no-hitter in the ninth inning of an otherwise meaningless September game that most people will remember about his season. The 26-year-old didn't do much offensively in his brief time in the big leagues, but he's clearly got nothing left to prove in the minors. He may get a chance at a regular role in the majors after he was traded to Tampa Bay in the offseason.
Souza had another impressive year in the minors, adding some plate discipline to his skill set and cementing his place in the Nationals' future plans, but the question now isn't whether he will play, but where. The move to right field got Souza out from under Ryan Zimmerman on the depth chart but now Jayson Werth's giant contract looms as a roadblock in right field instead. Too much talent is a better problem to have than not enough, of course, so the Nationals will probably let Souza continue to develop at Triple-A, see if he can stay healthy for a change, and worry about the glut of outfielders next offseason.
A third-round pick out of high school way back in 2007, the Nationals have been very patient with Souza even after a 2010 suspension for PED use, and that patience was finally rewarded to a degree last season as he hit 23 home runs in just 97 games between Low-A and High-A. It is hard to see where he fits into the team's future plans though. A 23-year-old beating up on A-ball pitching is not as impressive as it might seem at first glance, and with Ryan Zimmerman at the head of an organizational depth chart that also features Anthony Rendon and Matt Skole, playing third base in Washington just does not seem all that likely. If he keeps hitting at Double-A he could emerge as useful trade bait, and another team with bigger needs at the hot corner might give him a chance.
More Fantasy News
Training at 100 percent
OFFree Agent  NRI
Knee
December 19, 2019
Souza (knee) is running, hitting and throwing at 100 percent and drawing interest from at least four teams, Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports.
ANALYSIS
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Fails to receive contract
OFFree Agent  NRI
Knee
December 2, 2019
Souza (knee) was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks on Monday, Zach Buchanan of The Athletic reports.
ANALYSIS
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Takes BP
OFArizona Diamondbacks  NRI
Knee
September 29, 2019
Souza (knee) took batting practice on the field Saturday for the first time since spring training, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports.
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Cleared for activity
OFArizona Diamondbacks  NRI
Knee
September 8, 2019
Souza (knee) has been cleared to begin baseball activity, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports.
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Nearing baseball activity
OFArizona Diamondbacks  NRI
Knee
September 5, 2019
Souza (knee) will travel with the Diamondbacks next week to Cincinnati, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports.
ANALYSIS
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