Steven Souza Jr.

Steven Jeffrey Souza Jr. (born April 24, 1989) is an American former professional baseball right fielder. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Washington Nationals, Tampa Bay Rays, Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and Seattle Mariners.

Steven Souza Jr.
Souza with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2017
Right fielder
Born: (1989-04-24) April 24, 1989
Everett, Washington, U.S.
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 13, 2014, for the Washington Nationals
Last MLB appearance
May 19, 2022, for the Seattle Mariners
MLB statistics
Batting average.229
Home runs72
Runs batted in207

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 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, in the final game of the regular season, Souza made a dramatic leaping catch of a fly ball to left-center field for the final out to secure Jordan Zimmermann's no-hitter, the first for the Nationals since moving to Washington, DC in 2005.[10][11]

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.[12]

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.[13] Overall, Souza played in 110 games, batting .225/.318/.399 with 16 home runs, 40 RBIs, and 12 steals, playing mainly in right field.[14]

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[14]

In 2017, Souza started the season by batting .330/.411/.543 in the month of April[14] winning American League Player of the Week for the week of April 23[15] 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.[16] 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.[17] On July 26, Souza hit a 455-foot home run against the Baltimore Orioles that hit the d-ring catwalk in Tropicana Field.[18] 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.[19] Because of his performance, he was named the Rays' MVP for the 2017 season.

Arizona Diamondbacks

On February 20, 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 and Sam McWilliams) from the Diamondbacks.[20]

In an effort to find innovative ways to improve after his first career 30-homer season, he started to use strobe glasses. Every day, he would don the eyewear and head to the outfield for extra batting practice against tiny foam balls. The specs would shut off his field of vision at specific intervals and help him sharpen his pitch recognition.

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.[21][22] On May 22, 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.

On March 25, 2019, Souza tore his left anterior cruciate ligament, lateral collateral ligament, posterior lateral capsule, and partially tore his left posterior cruciate ligament, prematurely ending his 2019 season during spring training.[23] On December 2, 2019, Arizona opted not to tender Souza a contract for the 2020 season, and he became a free agent.[24]

Chicago Cubs

On January 28, 2020, the Chicago Cubs officially announced that they signed Souza to a 1-year contract.[25] Souza was designated for assignment by the Cubs on September 5 after hitting .148/.258/.333 with 1 home run and 5 RBI in 11 games. Souza was released by the organization on September 8.

Houston Astros

On January 30, 2021, Souza signed a minor league contract with the Houston Astros organization and was invited to Spring Training.[26] On March 24, Souza was released by the Astros after going 2-for-21 with a home run and 5 walks in 27 plate appearances in Spring Training.[27]

Los Angeles Dodgers

On March 31, 2021, Souza signed a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization.[28] He hit .279 in 22 games with six home runs and 16 RBI for the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers before he was called up to the major leagues on June 16.[29] In 13 games, he had four hits in 25 at-bats with one home run[30] before being designated for assignment on July 6.[31] He was released by the Dodgers on July 11,[32] but was signed to a new minor league contract on July 17.[32] He was called back up to the majors on September 7[33] and again designated for assignment on September 13.[34] On the season in AAA, he hit .274 in 56 games.[35] Souza was added back to the Dodgers roster for the postseason, and appeared in six games through three different series, primarily as a pinch hitter. He had one hit in eight at-bats, while striking out four times.[30]

Seattle Mariners

Souza signed a minor league contract with the Seattle Mariners on March 13, 2022.[36] He was designated for assignment on May 22, 2022 and released the next day.


Souza officially retired from baseball on July 19, 2022.[37]

Personal life

Souza is a Christian.[38] Early in his baseball career, Souza lived a lifestyle characterized by "drinking, staying out late, chasing women."[39] 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.[39] 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.[39] He returned to baseball and worked to turn his life around.[39]

Souza added the "Jr." to his name in 2012, to honor his father for supporting his baseball career.[40] Steven Souza Sr. did not play baseball professionally.[40]

Souza married Mikaela Peckman in 2015 and the couple welcomed their first child, a son, in December 2016.[41]


  1. 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, 2015.
  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. "Steven Souza Jr. dives to seal Jordan Zimmermann's no-hitter". YouTube.
  12. Cwick, Chris (December 19, 2014). "Padres, Rays and Nationals complete Wil Myers trade". CBS Sports. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  13. "Steven Souza, Jr. will go on the disabled list with a broken hand - HardballTalk". August 2, 2015. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
  14. "Steven Souza Stats |". Retrieved June 1, 2017.
  15. "All-time winners". Major League Baseball. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
  16. "Steven Souza Jr. followed up his hilarious dive with a home run". Major League Baseball. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  17. "WATCH: Steven Souza Jr. blasts a solo HR into the camera well | FOX Sports". FOX Sports. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  18. TheRenderMLB (July 26, 2017). "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 July 26, 2017.
  19. "Steven Souza Jr. » Statistics » Batting | FanGraphs Baseball". Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  20. Gilbert, Steve (February 20, 2018). "D-backs get Souza from TB, trade Drury to NYY".
  21. "Souza Jr. gets ejected in 8th". May 12, 2018. Retrieved May 13, 2018.
  22. "Nationals vs. D-Backs Box Score". May 12, 2018. Retrieved May 13, 2018.
  23. "Diamondbacks' Souza tears up knee, out for '19". March 26, 2019. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  24. Nick Piecoro (December 2, 2019). "Diamondbacks parting ways with Taijuan Walker, Steven Souza Jr". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  25. Bastian, Jordan (January 28, 2020). "Cubs finalize 1-year deal for outfielder Souza". Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  26. Anthony Franco (January 30, 2021). "Astros To Sign Steven Souza To Minor-League Deal". MLB Trade Rumors. Retrieved July 6, 2021.
  27. Steve Adams (March 24, 2021). "Astros To Release Steven Souza Jr". MLB Trade Rumors. Retrieved July 6, 2021.
  28. Steve Adams (March 31, 2021). "Dodgers Sign Steven Souza Jr. To Minor League Deal". MLB Trade Rumors. Retrieved July 6, 2021.
  29. Polishuk, Mark (June 16, 2021). "Dodgers Select Steven Souza, Designate Nate Jones". MLB Trade Rumors. Retrieved June 16, 2021.
  30. "Steven Souza Jr. Statistics". Baseball Reference.
  31. Adams, Steve (July 6, 2021). "Dodgers Designate Steven Souza Jr. For Assignment". MLB Trade Rumors. Retrieved July 6, 2021.
  32. "Major League Baseball Transactions". Major League Baseball.
  33. Stephen, Eric (September 7, 2021). "Steven Souza Jr. is back with the Dodgers". SB Nation. Retrieved September 7, 2021.
  34. Harris, Blake (September 13, 2021). "Clayton Kershaw activated from 60-day IL". SB Nation. Retrieved September 13, 2021.
  35. "Steven Souza Jr. Minor, Fall & Winter League Statistics". Baseball Reference. Retrieved October 4, 2021.
  36. "Mariners To Sign Steven Souza To Minors Deal". MLB Trade Rumors. Retrieved March 13, 2022.
  37. "Steven Souza Jr. Retires from professional baseball". July 19, 2022.
  38. "Steven Souza". The Increase. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
  39. Company, Tampa Publishing. "Faith helps Rays' Steven Souza Jr. turn around life, career". Tampa Bay Times.
  40. Blum, Sam (June 15, 2016). "Souza's addition of 'Jr.' a tribute to father". Retrieved October 23, 2021.
  41. "Souza reveling in being a first-time father". Retrieved December 21, 2017.

Further reading

  • Michael, Matt. (July 23, 2014). "Souza Finds God, and then Finds Success," Syracuse New Times
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