Chicago Cubs Greatest Rookie Seasons of All-Time – #2: Geovany Soto (2008)
Geovany Soto saw a little bit of action with the big league club in 2005 and 2006. When the team traded Michael Barrett in the middle of the 2007 season, they acquired veteran Jason Kendall, but by the end of the season, as the team was heading toward an NL Central title, Soto had played himself into the starting lineup. In 18 games in 2007, Soto posted a 1.100 OPS before getting into two of the Cubs’ three postseason games that year.
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Soto was the Cubs’ primary catcher in 2008 and had a rookie season for the ages, batting .285 with 23 home runs and 86 RBI. His signature regular season moment came late in the season when he came up to bat with two on in the bottom of the ninth at home against the Milwaukee Brewers, the Cubs down by three. Soto launched a three-run homer into the bleachers to tie the game, and the Cubs would win in extra innings, putting the Brewers in their rearview mirror for good on their way to the NL Central title.
Soto’s offensive numbers are impressive enough, but when we consider he also caught for a pitching staff that led their team to a 97-64 record, his performance becomes even more impressive. Unfortunately, Soto would never repeat that success. He plummeted to a .218 average in 2019, and while he bounced back decently in 2010, by 2012 he had been moved to the Texas Rangers. He bounced around for a few more seasons.
Soto’s success as a rookie was incredible, and it may have been the greatest rookie performance in team history until…