Steven Souza
Steven Souza

Steven Souza Jr.
Steven Jeffrey Souza Jr. (born April 24, 1989) is an American professional baseball right fielder for the Arizona Diamondbacks of Major League Baseball

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Not to be confused with Steve Souza.

Steven SouzaSouza with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2017Arizona Diamondbacks – No. 24Right fielderBorn: (1989-04-24) April 24, 1989 (age 29)
Everett, Washington Bats: Right Throws: Right MLB debutApril 13, 2014, for the Washington NationalsMLB statistics
(through August 29, 2018)Batting average.236Home runs69Runs batted in196Stolen bases40 Teams

Steven Jeffrey Souza Jr. (born April 24, 1989) is an American professional baseball right fielder for the Arizona Diamondbacks of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played in MLB for the Washington Nationals and Tampa Bay Rays.

Contents Amateur career

Souza attended Cascade High School in Everett, Washington. In high school, Souza starred for the school's baseball and football teams. Souza committed to attend Washington State University on a baseball scholarship, while also playing football for the Washington State Cougars.[1]

Professional career Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals selected Souza in the third round of the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft.[2][3] Souza signed with the Nationals rather than attend college, receiving a $346,000 signing bonus.[1] He played for the Hagerstown Suns of the Class A South Atlantic League in 2009 and 2010. In 2009, he had 116 strikeouts in 126 games. He was selected for the South Atlantic League All-Star Game in 2010, but he also received a 50-game suspension for use of a banned substance.[4]

Souza played for the Potomac Nationals of the Class A-Advanced Carolina League in 2011. Late in the season, he was benched for breaking team rules, and considered leaving the Nationals' organization to play college football. He returned to the Nationals' organization in 2012, and batted .297 with 23 home runs between Hagerstown and Potomac. In 2013, Souza played for the Harrisburg Senators of the Class AA Eastern League, where he batted .300 with 15 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 77 games. He played in the Arizona Fall League after the regular season.[1] He was added to the Washington 40 man roster on November 1, 2013.[5]

Souza split his time between the AAA level Syracuse Chiefs and the Washington Nationals in 2014. He was called up to the majors for the first time on April 12, 2014.[6] Souza made his major league debut on April 13 in a game against the Atlanta Braves. He entered as a defensive replacement in the seventh inning and struck out in his only at-bat of the game, which ended in a 10-2 loss for the Nationals.[7] He was sent down to the Syracuse Chiefs on May 5 in order to make room for Scott Hairston, who had just come off the disabled list. On July 16, 2014, Souza went 2–4 in the Triple-A All-Star Game with a double and a single. Souza's performance at the AAA level was recognized with his selection as the International League's Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year. He led the International League in batting average with .354, on base percentage with .435 and slugging percentage with .601.[8]

On August 4, Souza was called up to the Washington Nationals after Nate McLouth was put on the 15-day disabled list. On August 8, he was injured in a game against the Atlanta Braves after trying to rob Freddie Freeman of a home run. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on August 10 with a left shoulder contusion.[9] On September 28, 2014, Souza made a dramatic leaping catch of a fly ball to left-center field for the third out in the ninth inning in the final game of the regular season. The catch secured Jordan Zimmermann's no hitter, the first since the Nationals moved to Washington, D.C. in 2005.[10]

Tampa Bay Rays

On December 19, 2014, the Nationals traded Souza and Travis Ott to the Tampa Bay Rays in a three-team trade, in which the San Diego Padres traded Joe Ross and a player to be named later (Trea Turner) to the Nationals, the Padres traded Jake Bauers, Burch Smith, and René Rivera to the Rays, and the Padres received Wil Myers, Ryan Hanigan, and Jose Castillo from the Rays.[11]

In 2015, Souza started the season as an opening day starter, with his first home run as a Ray hitting the hotel in Rogers Centre. In August 2015, Souza was placed on the disabled list with a broken hand.[12] Overall, Souza played in 110 games, batting .225/.318/.399 with 16 home runs, 40 RBIs, and 12 steals, playing mainly in right field.[13]

In 2016, Souza once again saw daily playing time, playing in 120 games with the club. Overall, Souza saw improvements in nearly every statistic, batting .247/.303/.409 with 17 home runs and 49 RBIs[13]

In 2017, Souza started the season by batting .330/.411/.543 in the month of April[13] winning American League Player of the Week for the week of April 23[14] On May 26, Souza comically made national media after he dove for a ball in Target Field that was almost 30 feet away from him, his next at bat he received a standing ovation from Twins fans, then promptly launched a home run up into the second deck.[15] On July 15, Souza set a new career high after hitting his 18th home run of the year into the camera well in Angels Stadium.[16] On July 26, Souza hit a 455-foot home run against the Baltimore Orioles that hit the d-ring catwalk in Tropicana Field.[17] Souza had a breakout year in 2017, improving on nearly every statistic, setting career highs for home runs (30), RBIs (78), runs (78), stolen bases (16), OBP (.351), and SLG (.459), as well as doubling his walk rate and cutting his strikeout percentage to a career low.[18] Because of his performance, he was named the Rays' MVP for the 2017 season.

Arizona Diamondbacks

On February 18, 2018, the Rays sent Souza to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-team trade, in which the New York Yankees acquired Brandon Drury, the Diamondbacks acquired Taylor Widener from the Yankees, and the Rays acquired Nick Solak from the Yankees and Anthony Banda and two players to be named later (Colin Poche, Sam McWilliams) from the Diamondbacks.[19]

Souza was ejected for the first time in his MLB career on May 12, 2018, by home plate umpire Doug Eddings, after throwing his bat in reaction to a called third strike.[20][21] On May 22nd, Souza landed on the disabled list for the second time with the same injury, a strained right pectoral muscle, which caused him to miss the first month and a half of the season.

Personal life

Early in his baseball career, Souza lived a lifestyle characterized by "drinking, staying out late, chasing women."[22] After his live-in girlfriend cheated on him with a teammate, and he had a confrontation with Potomac Nationals manager Matt LeCroy, Souza briefly quit baseball in 2011.[22] Brent Lillibridge, a friend and former Major League player, invited him to attend his Christian church outside Seattle. Souza accepted, and after a period of time said he "could feel the Lord moving" and was baptized at age 22.[22] He returned to baseball and worked to turn his life around.[22]

Souza married Mikaela Peckman in 2015. The couple welcome their first child, a son named Micah, in December 2016.[23]

References Notes
  1. ^ a b c Wagner, James (March 11, 2014). "Steven Souza Jr. impresses at Nationals training camp less than three years after nearly quitting". Washington Post. Retrieved August 18, cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  2. ^ Sottile, Dave (June 3, 2013). "Lifestyle change paying dividends for Harrisburg Senators' OF Steven Souza Jr". The Patriot-News. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  3. ^ Shelton, Don (March 27, 2013). "Baseball prospect Steven Souza Jr.'s long climb back from positive drug test". Seattle Times. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  4. ^ "All-Star Souza banned for 50 games". July 15, 2010. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  5. ^ Kolko, Dan (November 1, 2013). "The challenges of being a first-time skipper (Souza added to 40-man)". MASN. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  6. ^ Ladson, Bill (April 13, 2014). "Span to 7-day DL; Souza, Treinen come up". Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  7. ^ "Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves - April 13, 2014". April 13, 2014. Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  8. ^ "Steven Souza, Jr. named I.L. MVP". August 26, 2014. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
  9. ^ "Nationals place Souza on DL, recall Taylor from Syracuse". August 10, 2014. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
  10. ^ Ladson, Bill (September 28, 2014). "Rare Jordan: Zimm tosses first Nats no-hitter". Retrieved September 29, 2014.
  11. ^ Cwick, Chris (December 19, 2014). "Padres, Rays and Nationals complete Wil Myers trade". CBS Sports. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  12. ^ "Steven Souza, Jr. will go on the disabled list with a broken hand - HardballTalk". Retrieved August 18, 2015.
  13. ^ a b c "Steven Souza Stats |". Retrieved 2017-06-01.
  14. ^ "All-time winners". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 2017-06-01.
  15. ^ "Steven Souza Jr. followed up his hilarious dive with a home run". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 2017-07-19.
  16. ^ "WATCH: Steven Souza Jr. blasts a solo HR into the camera well | FOX Sports". FOX Sports. Retrieved 2017-07-19.
  17. ^ TheRenderMLB (2017-07-26). "Steven Souza Jr. smashes a solo home run off the catwalk in deep left to extend the Rays' lead to 3-1 in the 7th inning!!!". @TheRenderMLB. Retrieved 2017-07-26.
  18. ^ "Steven Souza Jr. » Statistics » Batting | FanGraphs Baseball". Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  19. ^ Gilbert, Steve (February 20, 2018). "D-backs get Souza from TB, trade Drury to NYY".
  20. ^ "Souza Jr. gets ejected in 8th". May 12, 2018. Retrieved May 13, 2018.
  21. ^ "Nationals vs. D-Backs Box Score". May 12, 2018. Retrieved May 13, 2018.
  22. ^ a b c d Faith helps Rays' Steven Souza Jr. turn around life, career
  23. ^ "Souza reveling in being a first-time father". Retrieved December 21, 2017.
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