JUAN Jose SOTO
Nickname:   Soto Pacheco Position:   OF
Home: N/A Team:   YANKEES
Height: 6' 2" Bats:   L
Weight: 225 Throws:   L
DOB: 10/25/1998 Agent: N/A
Uniform #: 22  
Birth City: Santa Domingo, D.R.
Draft: 2015 - Nationals - Free agent - Out of the D.R.
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO OBP SLG AVG
2016 NYP AUBURN   6 21 3 9 3 0 0 1 0 0 3 4 .500 .571 .429
2016 GCL GCL-Nationals   45 169 25 61 11 3 5 31 5 2 14 25 .410 .550 .361
2017 GCL GCL-Nationals   9 25 3 8 1 1 0 4 0 0 2 1 .370 .440 .320
2017 SAL HAGERSTOWN   23 86 15 31 5 0 3 14 1 2 10 8 .427 .523 .360
2018 EL HARRISBURG   8 31 4 10 2 0 2 10 1 0 4 7 .400 .581 .323
2018 CAR POTOMAC   15 62 17 23 3 1 7 18 0 1 11 8 .466 .790 .371
2018 SAL HAGERSTOWN   16 59 12 22 5 3 5 24 2 0 14 13 .486 .814 .373
2018 NL NATIONALS $545.00 116 414 77 121 25 1 22 70 5 2 79 99 .406 .517 .292
2019 NL NATIONALS $578.00 150 542 110 153 32 5 34 110 12 1 108 132 .401 .548 .282
2020 NL NATIONALS $233.00 47 154 39 54 14 0 13 37 6 2 41 28 .490 .695 .351
2021 NL NATIONALS $8,500.00 151 502 111 157 20 2 29 95 9 7 145 93 .465 .534 .313
2022 NL NATIONALS   101 342 62 84 17 1 21 46 6 2 91 62 .408 .485 .246
2022 NL PADRES   12 46 7 11 2 0 2 7 1 1 4 10 .314 .413 .239
2023 NL PADRES $23,000.00 162 568 97 156 32 1 35 109 12 5 132 129 .410 .519 .275
Personal
  • Soto benefited from playing in the Dominican Prospect League. He is a player who looks better in games than he does in practice. Juan trained with Christian Batista, also known as “Niche.” 

  • July 2, 2015: The Nationals agreed to terms with 16-year-old outfielder Soto of the Dominican Republic on a $1.5 million signing bonus by scout Modesto Ulloa.  Soto was considered one of the most dominant hitters and polished bats on the 2015 international market.

  • In 2016, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Juan as the 24th-best prospect in the Nationals organization. But they moved Soto all the way up to #3 in the winter before 2017 spring training. And he was behind only Victor Robles in 2018, as the 2nd-best prospect in the Nats' system.

  • In 2016, Soto had a spectacular pro debut, winning MVP honors in the Gulf Coast League as a 17-year-old. He led the league in batting (.361) and slugging (.550) and ranked second in on-base percentage (.410).

  • MLB debut (May 20, 2018):  As he sat at his locker, taking it all in with a big smile on his face, Juan was greeted by various teammates on his first day in the Majors. Bryce Harper, the last Nats teenage phenom, came over to give him a hug. General manager Mike Rizzo and members of the coaching staff came over to offer him congrats for a moment that arrived much sooner than anyone could have expected, even Juan himself.

    The Nationals promoted Soto to the Majors, making him the youngest active player in MLB (19 years old). He debuted in the eighth inning of the Nationals' 7-2 loss to the Dodgers and struck out after pinch-hitting for Adrian Sanchez. 

    "I was in shock," Soto said, motioning to the goosebumps on his arm. "I was so excited, I didn't think that would happen."

    Soto has been considered a piece of the Nationals' outfield of the future, but no one could have predicted the future would arrive this quickly. Even though not in the starting lineup, Soto was promoted to be the team's everyday left fielder. The Nationals will likely limit his at-bats against tough left-handers and try to make sure they ease him into Major League life as much as possible. But Soto is here to play . . . and play every day.  (Collier - mlb.com)

    Soto hit a three-run homer in his first career start for the Nationals.

    "I don't even know if he [Juan] knows he's in the big leagues," said teammate Max Scherzer. "This kid is just coming up and just showing he has an unbelievable eye, knows what he wants to do at the plate and just can get the barrel to the ball. Sometimes it doesn't matter how old or how young you are. If you have that ability, it doesn't matter what's being thrown at you. The fact that he's able to show such a big league approach at this young of an age in the Major Leagues is so impressive."   (Collier - mlb.com - 5/31/18)

  • June 18, 2018: The Nationals and Yankees started a game in the middle of the sixth inning, tied at 3, to finish a suspended game that began on May 15. Juan Soto was in the lineup.

    But, his first big league game was on May 20, when the youngster struck out as a pinch-hitter against the Dodgers. That means that he technically played in a game that took place before his MLB debut. Oh, and he dingered, too, which means there's probably an actual hole in the time-space continuum somewhere in right field at Nationals Park.

  • June 21, 2018:  Max Scherzer on Juan:  "I think we're all amazed every single day. Juan's got some antics. He's got some flair. He's a great young player. He's just enjoying himself. He's the bat we kind of need in our lineup right now, that's hot. And teams are going to have to figure out how to get him out, because it's tough right now.

    "He's really locked into what he wants to do. And every time he steps to the plate, he competes. And he takes his walks. He understands, he has a great feel for the strike zone that he doesn't expand as much as you would think for a young guy. To have that type of eye, it's remarkable for him to be able to do that at this time, at this age and at this level."

  • September 2018: Nationals outfielder Juan Soto was the NL's Rookie of the Month. Soto continued doing things that the baseball world has never seen a player his age do before.

    The 19-year-old stole three bases in a game against the Braves on Sept. 15, surpassing Rickey Henderson as the youngest player to do so. He also recorded his third multi-homer game against the Phillies on Sept. 11 to set a new record for teenagers. Soto finished his rookie campaign with 22 homers, which tied teammate Bryce Harper for the second-most hit by a player before his 20th birthday.

    Overall, Soto hit .283/.383/.525 with 6 dingers and 20 RBIs to claim the September honors.

  • Oct 25, 2018: Soto celebrated his 20th birthday, which is a good time to look back at where he ranked and what records he set among teenagers in several categories in Major League history.  Soto arrived in D.C. sooner than nearly anyone could have anticipated, when the Nationals promoted him at age 19 to the Majors after a rash of injuries in May 2018. Soto then put together one of the most impressive seasons by a teenager in MLB history, etching his name into the record books in a number of categories and putting himself in contention for NL Rookie of the Year honors.

    Tied for second-most home runs by a teenager (22, tied with Bryce Harper). Soto launched a homer in his first career Major League start, which set the template for the special season he would put together. His power helped earn him the initial callup, as he hammered 14 home runs in 39 games in the Minors, and the power carried over quickly to Major League stadiums, where Soto routinely swatted towering, opposite-field homers over the left-field wall and smiled as he raced around the bases.

    Soto passed names like Ken Griffey Jr. and Mel Ott on his way up the record books, finishing at 22 homers on the season, tied with his teammate Harper's mark from 2012 and trailing only Tony Conigliaro, who hit 24 homers in 1964, among teenagers.

    Most multi-homer games (three) by a teenager in MLB history. Soto's first multi-homer game came at Yankee Stadium on June 13, 2018, when he hammered two homers, including the go-ahead solo dinger in the seventh, en route to four RBIs in Washington's 5-4 victory. He homered twice and collected five RBIs in the Nats' 17-7 blowout win in Philadelphia on June 29. And again Soto helped power a victory on Sept. 11, when in the second game of a doubleheader he collected another pair of homers, which included the game-winning homer in the 10th.

    Most walks (79) by a teenager in MLB history. What coaches and teammates praised the most about Soto was his patience and approach at the plate, especially impressive given his age. That plate discipline and uncanny ability to control the strike zone was one of the biggest drivers of his success.

    Soto became the youngest player since Griffey Jr. in June 1989 to get intentionally walked and set a record for most multi-walk games (16) by a teenager. He drew 79 walks, 10 of which were intentional free passes; no teenager had ever before drawn more than 60 walks (Will Smalley, 1890) in a single season.

    Highest on-base percentage (.406) and OPS (.923) for a teenager. The high walk total should make the record on-base percentage no surprise, and Soto's .923 OPS finished just ahead of Mel Ott's .921 OPS in 1928. Soto also dominates in a lot of advanced stats. He posted the highest OPS+ (142), wOBA (.392) and wRC+ (145) among teenagers in MLB history, giving him the strong case to be called the best-hitting teenager in MLB history.

    First teenager and youngest player to steal three bases in a single game. Soto had only swiped two bases all season before he caught everyone off guard on Sept. 15. Taking advantage of something he picked up in the delivery of Braves right-hander Julio Teheran, Soto became the youngest player with three stolen bases in a single game, breaking Rickey Henderson's record at 20 years and 241 days. It was an unexpected wrinkle in Soto's already impressive game and reminder of how talented of a player he can be. (J Collier - MLB.com - Oct 25, 2018)

  • Nov. 2018: Soto was on the MLB roster for the 2018 Japan All-Star Series with Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).

  • April 28, 2019: The Nationals became the first team in Major League Baseball history to have three players under the age of 22 hit homers in the same game as Juan, 20, Victor Robles, 21, and Carter Kieboom all went deep against the Padres in a 7-6 11-inning win.

  • Juan was just six months old when his father brought him to his first baseball game, a winter ball game in the Dominican Republic. Baseball has always been a bonding experience for Soto and his father, also named Juan Jose Soto, the man he credits with introducing him to the game.

    The elder Soto played baseball and softball for fun in his spare time and would always bring his son when he could. And then they would hit. And hit. And hit, until his father grew tired.  “He got tired,” Soto said, “but I never got tired as a kid.”

    Soto would grab anything he could find. He’d hand his father a bottle cap and he would use the bottle as a bat. “That’s how everything started,” Soto said.

    So it was extra special for Soto to have his father in attendance for his big league debut in May 2018. When he found out he was getting called up to the big leagues, he called his family in the Dominican Republic and told them to get on a flight to D.C. When they were worried it would be too expensive, he assured them, it was OK.

    “It was really special having my family out there,” Soto said. “For me every time I go to the plate or go to the field, and you know family is out there, I want to give my 100 percent every time I go out there and try to make it fun.”  (Collier - mlb.com - 6/16/19)

  • Oct 21, 2019: While the rest of the Nationals clubhouse has showered themselves in beer and champagne during celebrations this month, Soto has carried his own personal beverage: a few bottles of Welch’s Sparkling Grape juice. The thought brought second baseman Brian Dozier back to a moment earlier in the season on May 15, Dozier’s 32nd birthday.

    Soto wished Dozier a happy birthday and asked what he was up to that night. Dozier hadn’t nailed down his plans, but he invited Soto out for a drink to celebrate, only to find out his new teammate had still not reached the legal drinking age.

    “I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’” Dozier recalled. “I did not know he was 20. I thought like 22-23, whatever, this young guy. I was slapping singles in college when I was his age, and this guy’s doing what he’s doing. So that was kind of the ‘holy crap, this guy’s special.’”

    The World Series presents a chance for Soto to show the world what the Nationals already know: just how special Soto truly is.

    Perhaps Soto knew all along he would end up on this stage. He’s been predicting this matchup when talking to his friend, Astros catcher Robinson Chirinos, for months. The two developed a friendship during the Japan All-Star Series last winter, when Soto and his father (also named Juan Jose Soto) spent time with Chirinos and his son, David, going to dinner together after games.

    About two months ago, maybe as early as July, Soto told Chirinos to be ready for a Washington-Houston World Series. Chirinos sent Soto a text after his hit to win the NL Wild Card Game, and Soto responded in the same way: Washington vs. Houston in the World Series.

    It's that same kind of assurance and confidence the Nationals have seen all along, the traits that have him poised to wow a nation in prime time. (J Collier - MLB.com - Oct 21, 2019)

  • Juan turned 21 five days before the Nationals won the 2019 World Series.  And he was as much an October star as any of his teammates — Stephen Strasburg or Max Scherzer or Anthony Rendon.

    When you add it up, he was probably more of one. It got lost a little bit because of the way Strasburg and Scherzer pitched, and because of all those elimination games the Nationals won on their way to being one of the great baseball stories of all time. But no one Soto’s age had ever played the way he did on that stage.

    Now he and his team try to get ready to do it again.  We might be talking about at the end of this short 2020 season is the kid in left field for the Nationals. Could he win an MVP award? Yeah, he could. If he does, it would make him the youngest player in baseball history to do that.

    “What we’ve all seen,” Omar Minaya said, “is that there is no moment too big for him. He’s got the wow factor as much as any of the kids in our game.”

    Omar, formerly the general manager of the Expos and a Queens, NY kid who grew up to later become GM of the Mets, is now a special assistant to the Mets current GM Brodie Van Wagenen. He has already seen plenty of Juan Soto, just because the Mets are in the same division as the Nats.

    “I think the thing that struck me the most when I finally saw him in person, apart from the talent and bat speed and all the rest of it," Minaya said, “was the way he controlled the zone. That is a special quality for someone 19 and 20 years old.”

    This is what Mike Rizzo, the architect of the Nationals’ championship team and Soto’s own GM, said to me in his office at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches one morning in March: “I honestly believe this young man has the chance to be the face of Major League Baseball someday. And I believe he’s the face of Latin baseball already.”

    It is another reason why Johnny DiPuglia, the Nationals’ VP and assistant GM of international operations, calls No. 22 “the Latin Mamba.”

    Soto hit three home runs against the Astros in the World Series. No player 21 or younger had ever hit that many. He hit .333 for the Series, with an on-base percentage of .438 and a slugging percentage of .741 and an OPS of 1.178. We also talk a lot about golden children of the game like Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Fernando Tatis Jr. Soto is just five months older than Vlad and three months older than Tatis. He is younger than Bo Bichette and Ronald Acuna, Jr.

    Soto played 17 postseason games for the Nationals in 2019. He only failed to reach base in one of them. One. He broke up his team’s National League Wild Card game against the Brewers with a single (off lefty Josh Hader) that skipped past Brewers right fielder Trent Grisham in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Nationals down two runs, and cleared the bases and put the Nats ahead for good.  (Lupica - mlb.com - 7/22/2020)

  • Juan's uncles had never been to Nationals Park, so he invited them to his first game of the 2020 regular season . . . in the form of cardboard cutouts.  On August 5, 2020, the likenesses of Soto’s relatives filled the first rows in the left-field stands to “watch” him in the starting lineup the day after he was reinstated from the COVID-19 injured list.

    “I just wanted to feel my family back there,” Soto said after the Nationals’ 3-1 loss to the Mets. “I have a couple uncles who never been in the field, in the stadium, so it’s their first time.”  (Camerato - mlb.com - 8/5/2020)

  • Oct 12, 2020: Juan Soto just can't stay away from the diamond. The youngest batting champion in National League history traveled to New Jersey to watch his nephew in a United States Amateur Baseball League 10-and-under tournament at North Edison Little League. Soto was there for two games, watching his nephew's New York Bluebirds out of Manhattan take the title with a 7-2 victory over the New Jersey Cardinals from Mountainside.

    "My coach told me that a guy in the stands was Juan Soto," Cardinals center fielder Patrick McKeever, 10, said. "And I didn't really believe it at first. My teammates kept trying to get me to look, and I realized it was him."

    Did having one of Major League Baseball's young superstars at the game have an effect?

    "Yeah," Patrick said. "I wanted to do better to impress him."

    While the Bluebirds celebrated their victory with photos on the field and the presentation of awards, Soto approached the Cardinals and offered to sign autographs and take pictures with the team.

    "I was wondering what was taking them so long to come off the field after the game," said Patrick's mother, Jaime McKeever. "And another mother said, 'There's a Major League player out there. He won the World Series last year.' So, of course I had to go down there and see him."

    Wearing a mask, Soto chatted up the Cardinals and signed baseballs for about 20 minutes before posing for a team picture. He also offered encouragement to the players. During the game, the Cardinals' pitcher attempted a pickoff throw at second base that went into center field. As the runner rounded third and sprinted toward the plate, Patrick fired home. His one-hop throw to the catcher was in time, according to his father, Dan McKeever, but the runner slid around the tag.

    But Soto noticed the throw.

    "When I went to get his autograph, he said, 'I saw you in center field. That was a nice throw,'" Patrick said.

    And Juan Soto knows a thing or two about nice throws from the outfield. (D Cichalski - Oct 12, 2020)

  • 2020 Season: Juan Soto, who turned 22 in October, finished the 2020 campaign with the highest batting average in the National League (.351; second-highest in the majors), MLB’s highest OBP, (.490), highest SLG (.695), highest wOBA (.478), highest wRC+ (200), the fifth-most walks (41), and the highest BB% (20.9%) in the 47 games and the 196 plate appearances he had in the 60-game season, after starting a little late following a positive test for COVID-19 on the morning of the season opener.

    In addition, Soto, in his third season, had the league’s 10th lowest O-Swing% (“Swings at pitches outside the zone/pitches outside the zone,” per Fangraphs) at 21% (one spot behind Anthony Rendon on the season; 20.8%, and not too far behind Cavan Biggio’s MLB-low 16.3% O-Swing%).

    Soto saw the seventh-lowest percentage of pitches in the zone overall as well (37.2% Zone% - Pitches in the strike zone / Total pitches); and saw the second-lowest number of first-pitch strikes (49.5% F-strike% - First pitch strikes/PA). Put simply, the kid’s got preternatural strike zone awareness. (Patrick Reddington@federalbaseball - Nov 28, 2020)

  • July 2021: Soto was chosen to represent the Nationals in the All-Star Game.

  • In July, when Juan first thought of donating his all-star week earnings to Olympic athletes from the Dominican Republic, he called a former teammate and now trusted friend. Emilio Bonifácio was set to play for the country’s baseball team in Japan. But when Soto explained his intentions, Bonifácio offered insight that helped shape the next steps.

    “I just told him to consider others beyond baseball,” Bonifácio recalled in a recent phone call. “He was already going to. He wanted to help as many people as he could. The thing some people don’t realize is that a few of us baseball guys got to make our money in the States. The boxers, the runners, they are doing this because it is what they love. And they are doing this for our country with little financial gains.”

    So Soto used his shares from the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game in Denver — around $200,000 — to sponsor a mix of baseball players, boxers and track and field athletes.  (Jesse Dougherty - Oct. 19, 2021)

  • Oct 31, 2021: It was the year that Juan Soto saved Halloween.

    Here's yet another reason that baseball is the best. Eireann Dolan, wife of reliever and former National (and 2019 champion) Sean Doolittle, shared an incredible story on Twitter about her favorite World Series memory, and it’s everything that’s right about the young stars in the game these days.

    When the Nationals won the Fall Classic in 2019, they did so on October 30. Everyone stayed up late celebrating, and the next day, players, coaches and staff headed back to D.C. on the team plane. Many had their families with them, including young children, who showed up in costume for the flight. But the flight wasn’t going to land early enough for them to get to go trick-or-treating.

    According to Dolan, about 20 minutes into the flight, Juan Soto started handing out bags of candy to the adults on board. Then he went to the children, gave them empty bags and told them to go trick-or-treating on the plane.

    That’s an amazing story from any player. But from a superstar, one who had just cemented himself into that echelon with his World Series performance and who had just turned 21? Truly incredible.

    In Dolan’s words: “Those kids were super lucky to begin with; they just watched their team win the World Series and they were on the team plane (a rare occurrence)! And then the team’s superstar found a way for them to trick or treat. Juan Soto is just the coolest.”

    We agree. Baseball is the best. (S Langs - MLB.com - Oct 31, 2021) 

  • Nov 2021: Following a surging second half of the season, slugger Juan Soto finished in second place for the 2021 National League MVP. Soto was edged out by former teammate and current Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper in the voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Harper previously won the award as a member of the Nats in 2015.

    Harper earned the honors with 348 total points (17 first-place votes, nine second-place, two third-place). Soto received 274 points (six first-place votes, 11 second-place, seven third-place), followed by Fernando Tatis Jr. of the Padres (244 total points, two first-place votes). (J Camerato - MLb.com - Nov 18, 2021)

  • Nov 29, 2021: Each at-bat was an opportunity for Juan Soto to imagine, every swing a chance for him to envision achieving his dreams like his favorite players did before him. If only they knew then how badly the young slugger wanted to reach those Major League goals, too.

    “I remember, at least in Little League, we tried to be like everybody,” Soto said at the end of the regular season. “So my first at-bat, I can be like Robinson Canó. Second at-bat, I can be A-Rod. Third at-bat, I can be [Albert] Pujols. Fourth at-bat, I can be David Ortiz. [Laughs] We tried to be like them.”

    Now that Soto is in the same position as those he once portrayed at the plate, it is not uncommon to see the Nationals phenom share videos of young fans doing their best impressions of him -- including the infamous Soto Shuffle -- on his social media. The reposts offer a glimpse into the perspective of the 23-year-old who is young enough to remember admiring the pros and accomplished enough to use his star power to connect with those who look up to him.

    “I know it’s going to make them happy; it’s going to make a dream come true because it’s one of the things I never got,” Soto said of sharing fans’ videos. “People never got to know me. They think I signed, and I became a really big baseball player, but they don’t know how much of a fan I was before that.”

    Soto shows who he is as an elite athlete each time he steps on the field. He just wrapped up a decorated offseason awards spree in which he finished second in National League MVP voting and earned his second consecutive Silver Slugger Award and All-MLB First Team honors. Soto demonstrated discipline beyond his years to lead all players in both walks and on-base percentage, all while contending for a second straight NL batting title into the final weeks of the season.

    His 2021 slash line of .313/.465/.534 was the result of a surging turnaround from a slow start. In order to prepare for his dominating plate appearances, Soto’s pregame routine includes taking plenty of swings, as would be expected for the heavy hitter. It also includes an autograph session with crowds of fans, at home and road ballparks, where the appreciation is reciprocated.

  • “My family always showed me, be nice with everybody because you never know who you’re being nice with and who you’re helping out,” Soto said. “That’s one of the things I stick with, and I try to help as much as I can.”

    At a mid-September game at Nationals Park, Soto’s attention was caught by a young fan holding a sign that read, “Juan my pacemaker beats 4 U.” He personally delivered a piece of memorabilia . . . and a message.

    “Things like that, it makes you want to play harder and keep playing hard because you know people are out there watching you and thinking whatever you do is great,” Soto said. “So when I see that, I just think about how blessed we are because we don’t have to deal with all that kind of stuff, but at least we are making those guys happy at one time of their lives. That just made me happy. I gave her a ball and I just told her, ‘Just keep going. I love you, too.’”  

    Two weeks later, Soto went 0-for-4 in a loss to the Rockies that included a strikeout and three men left on base. The following afternoon, he recounted a pregame interaction at Coors Field that had lifted his spirits amid the frustrating performance.

    “​​Sometimes you see a little kid and how their faces get so excited when you give them something,” Soto said. “I threw one of my bats away and I gave it to a little kid. He just wanted to say hi to me, and I said, ‘Grab this,’ and he was so excited, he was just jumping around. That just made me feel better. On a tough day like yesterday that I went through, that kind of smile and happiness on those guys, it just made me feel better.”

  • Transcending baseball, Soto provides leadership to his 15-year-old brother, Elian. The teenager aspires to become a Major League player, too, with a left-handed swing and skills playing third base. Projected to grow taller than his older brother, Elian has been encouraged to explore the outfield as well.

    “I told him, ‘You’ve got to work hard,'’’ Soto said, “‘It’s not easy. I know it looks easy now because I made it all the way, but it’s not easy. You’ve got to play hard, you’ve got to compete against the guys that are really good. They can have more talent than you, but you’ve got to work harder than them, so just keep grinding.' Right now, he feels really motivated.” 

    Having already garnered Hall of Fame references, Soto hopes to show goals and dreams can be attained regardless of how young someone may be. And with his impressive resume and sky-high potential comes being thrust to the forefront of a franchise. After the Nationals overhauled their roster at the Trade Deadline to move into a new direction for the future, Soto’s role and impact on the club became magnified exponentially, an adjustment for the All-Star whose rookie year wasn’t so distant.

    But what could being a leader of a team look like for the player who, for all he has achieved already, was the third-youngest member of the Nats starting lineup at the end of the season and still is trying to learn and improve? Through his interactions with his fans, Soto already has experience leading with positivity and by example.

    “[The coaches] told me, ‘You can lead,’” Soto said, “‘You don’t have to be a leader yelling at people and trying to make them do things that you want to. You’ve just got to lead in your way.’ I think that’s one of the things that helped me out. They told me, ‘Just keep doing your thing, and that’s the way you should be a leader.’ So I think that’s one of the ways I’m going to do it — I’m just going to play hard and I’m going to try to help them as much as I can.”

    Early in Soto’s baseball playing days, he wanted to perform at the plate like the stars he watched dominate the game. Now, having turned 23, he has the opportunity to be not only the kind of player young athletes want to emulate and admire, but also the kind of team leader they would want to look up to. (J Camerato - MLB.com - Nov 29, 2021)

  •  2021 Season: Going into the All-Star break this past July, Soto had 11 home runs in 79 games and 332 plate appearances on the season, with just three in his previous 31 games at that point, in mid-July, but it picked up for the now-23-year-old slugger in Coors Field. Soto put on an impressive display in the HR Derby, and then came out swinging in the second-half, hitting three homers in his first three games and 15 PAs to start what would end up being a monster post-All-Star Game run, which lifted him in the running for the 2021 NL MVP.

    “You can tell, I just feel so much better now,” Soto said when asked about the impact of the HR Derby on his swing after a July 18th game against the San Diego Padres. “I was thinking about it, and it really helped me a little bit just get me that feeling how to put the ball in the air and everything. Because I tried everything that I can in the first half, and the ball [would] still go into the ground, so I’ve just got to find a way to put the ball in the air and see how it goes and I think the Derby helped me out, big time.”

    Soto went on to hit 18 home runs total in 72 games and 322 PAs in the second half, and he finished the year with a .348/.525/.639 run, over which he hits 11 doubles as well, driving in 53 runs, taking 87 walks, and scoring 57 runs after the All-Star break. His .525 on-base percentage in that stretch the eighth best in Major League history for any player after the All-Star break, as the Nationals noted in their Season in Review.  (Patrick Reddington@federalbaseball - Dec 30, 2021)

  • Jan 12, 2022: Juan's teen brother and baseball prospect has verbally agreed to join the Nationals. Elian Soto, a 16-year-old outfielder and third baseman, wouldn't be eligible to formally sign until 2023 international free agent class in January. (Aiden Gonzalez - ESPN - Jan 12, 2022) 

  • July 2022: For the second straight season, Juan will take his place among baseball’s best at the All-Star Game. He also participated in the Home Run Derby in which he defeated fellow phenom Julio Rodriguez of the Seattle Mariners 19-18 to win the Derby.

  • Jorge Mejia, a native of the Dominican Republic, Soto's longtime hitting coach, has been Soto’s main batting confidant since the two worked together in Rookie ball in 2016. He has seen all versions of Soto’s swings as a pro player. He recently has overseen the training of Soto’s younger brother, Elián, who agreed to sign with the Nationals when a new international signing period opens next year.

    There’s also Starling Marte, Soto’s most active supporter among players during the Derby on Monday night. The Mets’ Dominican outfielder is 10 years older than Soto. Soto was 8 years old when Marte made his pro debut back in 2007. They’ve lived through vastly different experiences. Yet there was Marte, waving towels and pumping the young slugger up during timeouts. Marte laughed and said no when asked if he was trying to recruit Soto to the Mets, but he said he threw his support behind Soto instead of his other fellow countrymen because he has “trained with him. I know what he’s capable of.”

    “That he was there, more positive than me even, feels good,” Soto said in Spanish. “He’s like a brother.”

    If there was anyone on the field more enthusiastic than Marte, it was Soto’s father. He rubbed his eldest son’s shoulders as though priming him for another round in a ring every chance he could. His father long has been Soto’s biggest hype machine. His Instagram page is filled with tributes to Soto — and to Elián, too.

    Of his dad, Soto said, “He’s always looking after me, working hard with me, giving me the support I need and letting me know just how good I am and to never doubt myself.”

    In the final moments of his time on the dais, Soto was asked: What was the biggest lesson baseball had taught him? “Just keep going,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what’s happening, what’s going on around you or in your life. Keep going.”

    Soto’s response was trite but poignant. He has had to shut out outside noise throughout his short but remarkable career, arguably more so the last few days than ever before. His ability to do so is like another superpower. As though being one of the best regarded hitters in the game isn’t enough, just add a seemingly unbreakable shell to the mix. (Torres-TheAthletic.com-July 19, 2022)

  • Betts, the Dodgers’ own star right fielder, wore a microphone that would capture a playful exchange for the ESPN telecast.

    “Can I use your eyes?” said Betts, who has long admired Soto’s supreme plate discipline.

    “Noo,” Soto replied. “I need you to show me how to hit!”

    “OK, I got you,” Betts said. “Let me have your eyes, I’ll give you my bat.”

    Those words, from either player, were meant in partial jest, but the proposed trade was one Soto might be tempted to consider. 

    Before the game, Soto had been asked if, at the moment, he would actually trade his eyes for Betts’ bat. The Dodgers right fielder had already hit a career-high 33 home runs, including nine in August.

    “I mean, his bat is very well,” Soto said. “Mine is good. Uh, I wouldn’t trade it all. I would trade a little bit of it. I’ll trade him 30 walks for, I don’t know, 30 clutch hits? I don’t know.”

    He laughed.

    “I know right now I’m not swinging the bat as well as I’m supposed to,” Soto said before Tuesday’s game. Everybody wants to perform out there and do well,” Soto said. “But I’ve just been trying to do my stuff and trying to get out there and try my best, and things aren’t going my way. But definitely I’m glad that I have teammates like this because they never put pressure on me. They just try to tell me to figure out my stuff and just keep moving forward and forget about what’s happened.”

    Soto acknowledged at least one challenge: Before Aug. 2, he’d never been traded. He called the last month “crazy” and 2022 a “weird year.” Less than two months ago, after word leaked that he’d rejected a 15-year, $440 million offer from the Nationals, he spent close to an hour at Dodger Stadium answering questions about his abrupt entrance into the trade market.

    That night, he won the Home Run Derby, demonstrating elite, all-fields power and an uncommon ability to compartmentalize. Two weeks after that, Soto was traded. The 23-year-old later said he’d “cried that whole morning,” an emotional reaction to leaving the only organization he knew.

    If any sentimentality has lingered, Soto has hidden it. The 2019 World Series winner has spoken often of his excitement in joining a contender. He has frequently praised his new environment and the players surrounding him. He has brought his buoyant brand of energy into the Padres’ clubhouse and dugout, into the batter’s box and into right field, where he is a limited but spirited defender.

    “I saw it at the beginning of last year, I saw it in spring training. And I saw him turn it around,” said first baseman Josh Bell, who was traded from Washington with Soto. “He’s the type of guy that can take a fastball down and in and go left-center for a homer. There’s not a lot of people in this game that can do that. So, when he gets back to doing things like that, it’s going to be weeks and months where he’s hitting .600. If he’s in the zone, getting his swing off in the zone, and he’s squaring the ball up the way that we know that he can, he’s the best player in the universe." (Lin-TheAthletic.com-Sept 7, 2022)

  • Sept. 2022: Soto chose to play for the Dominican Republic in the 2023 WBC.

  • The man was sitting behind the backstop at an amateur baseball field in late August, reading glasses perched at the edge of his nose as he queued up music on his cellphone, when he noticed a puddle left over from the morning’s rain. He stopped playing DJ for the young Dominican baseball prospects playing in front of a dozen major-league scouts and stood. There was work to do. 

    He grabbed a shovel and scooped construction dirt out of his pickup truck and over the pool of water that had grown at the side entrance. He located a couple of rocks and placed them side-by-side on the threshold of the fence opening. He made the path so no one passing through had to traverse mud.

    The man was the father of MLB superstar Juan Soto, the young outfielder who was the biggest midseason acquisition for a Padres team now three wins away from its first World Series appearance since 1998. 

    “I’ve always told my kids that baseball is a sport you have to play from the heart,” Juan Sr. said in Spanish.

    Juan Sr. remembered drawing for his eldest son during his early childhood. He would outline a heart on a piece of paper, then sketch a baseball at the center. He’d point and tell Soto: “This is how you play baseball. You can’t be afraid of the field, to get dirty, to get scraped.”

    Soto seemed to absorb the message. From a young age, his dedication wowed his father. Any time Juan Sr. played in his men’s softball league, Soto insisted on tagging along. He’d demand, too, that his father throw him batting practice an hour before his games. They would get through two bags of baseballs — “and he wouldn’t miss one,” Juan Sr. said. 

    By then, Soto was batting and throwing left-handed despite doing everything else with his right hand. He hadn’t hesitated to listen to his father’s suggestion that he switch hands for baseball because it would give him an advantage over most players.

    As he grew older, Soto’s routine evolved beyond BP at the softball field and hitting bottlecaps in the living room. It turned into predawn jogs with Juan Sr. on the grounds of the Plaza de La Bandera, a park a few miles away from the family home, and rides on public transportation across town to the baseball academies where he trained.

    “There are a lot of scouts that one of the instincts they look for in kids is that they have that dedication, that fire, for baseball,” Juan Sr. said. “Even if the talent takes until a little later to develop, if they have that little piece within themselves that they play baseball from the heart, that everything they do is with intent … I always saw that in my kids.” Seven years have passed since the Nationals saw what Juan Sr. did and signed Soto to what was then the franchise’s biggest bonus for a Latin American teenager. The list of Soto’s accomplishments has become so long, and his feats so great, that it no longer seems preposterous to believe Soto could become baseball’s first $500 million man. 

    Soto’s father would agree.

    He thought when Soto was around 12 years old and beginning to draw the attention of scouts that his son’s success seemed foretold. After all, Soto was a postseason baby — born on Oct. 25, 1998, four days after the Yankees completed their sweep of the Padres in the World Series. Juan Sr. believed Soto would become a major leaguer and play in the World Series.

    “God is giving me that hunch,” he said to his son. 

    Years later, Soto led the Nationals to a World Series in his first full season as a major leaguer. He celebrated a birthday in the middle of their seven-game series against the Astros, then sprayed champagne after clinching the title.

    Juan Sr. felt vindication — and awe.

    “It was a coincidence God gave to us,” he said. (Torres - Oct 21, 2022 - The Athletic)

  •  2022 Season:  Regular Season Statistics   

    3.8 fWAR, 153 G, .242 AVG, .401 OBP, .452 SLG, 149 OPS+, 93 R, 62 RBI, 27 HR

    Positives From This Season

    Juan didn’t play terrible defense for the Padres after he was traded from Washington before the deadline. Offensively he got it going in his last 15 regular season games, hitting .309 with 3 home runs and a .970 OPS in that span.

    Soto logged four hits in the Wild Card Series (2 RBI), three hits (1 RBI) in the Division Series and four hits (4 RBI) in the Championship Series. If there’s any fans out there who were concerned about Soto at the plate, those worries should be gone. It took him some time to adjust but he’s not afraid in the big moments and he’s going to be even more comfortable next year in the brown and gold.

    Negatives From This Season

    Those fans I was just referring to were concerned with Soto because he wasn’t Juan Soto immediately. He hit .202 with just 7 RBI in his first 35 games as a Padre and went 3-for-36 in a 11-game span from August 29 to September 10.

    Soto will slump at some point in 2023 because that’s just baseball. But expect him to be a hard out for opposing pitchers yet again because of his out-of-this-world plate discipline. Getting another superstar in front of him (hopefully) for most of the season will help too.

    As for Soto’s defense, he’s not Ken Griffey Jr. out there but he’s also not someone who is content with just being a great hitter. He wants to be a great all-around player, so there’s no reason to think we won’t see an improved version of Juan Soto in 2023.  (Ben Fadden@Ben_Fadden - Nov 6, 2022)

  •  The slugger's talent and dynamic style of play has led to Soto earning the nickname "Childish Bambino". The name comes from a combination of uber-talented Donald Glover's rap name "Childish Gambino" and Babe Ruth's "The Great Bambino" moniker.

    The nickname works wonders for Soto, who, much like Donald Glover and Babe Ruth, is a game changer. Similar to "Childish Gambino," the young All-Star outfielder brings a unique style and energy to his profession. Gambino's style and lyrics are unlike any other successful rapper today.

     The connection to Babe Ruth, at least in Juan Soto's eyes, is because he believes he is the best player in the game. It's hard to deny the upside and raw talent of Soto, which, when combined with his confidence, makes the "Bambino" part of the nickname fitting. Thus, meet "Childish Bambino".  (Lyndon Suvanto - Mar 13, 2023)

  •  Soto was born in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. He was born to Juan Soto Sr. and Belkis Pacheco who raised him alongside an older sister and a younger brother. His father, a local salesman, encouraged his kids to take up baseball. He was a catcher, himself, in one of the local men's leagues.

    The Dominican's younger brother is also a baseball player, specializing in the outfielder and third baseman position. Like his older brother, he is to sign with the Washington Nationals as an international free agent, once eligible at the end of 2023. (R. Nikhil Parshy - Apr 10, 2023)

  • July 2023: Soto represented the Padres at the MLB All-Star Game.

  • 2023 Season: Regular Season Statistics

    5.5 fWAR, 162 G, .275 AVG, .410 OBP, .519 SLG, 155 wRC+, 97 R, 109 RBI, 35 HR

    Positives From This Season

    In what some would consider a little bit of a disappointing season for Juan Soto, he still ended up being a top ten offensive player in baseball. He led the Padres in runs scored, home runs, RBI, walks, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS and total bases. The former Nationals star played in every single game this season, which is becoming more and more of a rarity around the league so props to him for that.

    Soto is entering his walk year, and the Padres are reportedly trying to trim payroll this coming season so of course there’s going to be talk about potentially trading Soto to get something back before he enters free agency. However, what kind of message would that send to the fans and players in the clubhouse if AJ Preller decided to move one of the best players in baseball before what’s supposed to be one of their ‘all-in’ years?

    Negatives From This Season

    Soto’s defense still was not good. He finished in the third percentile (really bad) in outs above average, according to Baseball Savant. But the Padres didn’t acquire him for his defense.

    His offense wasn’t good in a couple months this season, as he hit .202 in March/April and had a season worst .713 OPS in August.

    Soto also admitted that the team was quitting when they would get down in games, which should have never been said because the quitting mentality should’ve never occurred with how much talent was on that roster in 2023.

    This was a wasted year, partly because the Padres wasted one of the three years they have Soto for. (Ben Fadden@BenFaddenSD - Oct 27, 2023)

  • Nov 9, 2023: NL Outfield Silver Slugger Juan Soto, Padres (fourth win)

    Soto’s season didn’t garner as much attention as the two aforementioned names at this position, but it came with a lot of big numbers. That included a career-high 35 dingers, a .410 on-base percentage and a 158 OPS+. With 132 walks, Soto became the first player since Barry Bonds from 2002-04 to lead MLB outright in bases on balls for three consecutive years. (B Murphy - MLB.com - Nov 9, 2023)

  • Juan Soto is now a Yankee. 

    “He’s a transformational bat,” general manager Brian Cashman said Tuesday.

    “He’s a machine offensively,” Boone said Tuesday. “On-base (ability), power, (and) has accomplished a ton already at a young age.” Since starting his big-league career as a 19-year-old, Soto has been on a Hall of Fame trajectory, often called the modern-day Ted Williams. He’s one of seven players, including Williams and Mickey Mantle, to have multiple seasons of 30-plus home runs and 100-plus walks before the age of 25. His 156 career home runs and 627 walks are the most in MLB history before his age-25 season. His career .946 OPS ranks 27th in MLB history. Of the 26 players ahead of him, 20 of them are already in the Hall of Fame. (Kuty/Kirschner - Dec 6, 2023 - The Athletic)

    TRANSACTIONS

  • July 2, 2015: The Nationals agreed to terms with 16-year-old outfielder Soto of the Dominican Republic on a $1.5 million signing bonus by scout Modesto Ulloa.

  • Jan 15, 2021: Soto and the Nats avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $8.5 million.

  • March 22, 2022: Soto signed a one-year, $17 million deal with Nationals.

  • August 2, 2022: In one of the biggest trade deadline deals in memory, the Padres received: OF Juan Soto and 1B Josh Bell.

    The Nationals received: SS C.J. Abrams, LHP MacKenzie Gore, 1B Luke Voit, OF Robert Hassell III (Padres' No. 1 prospect/No. 21 overall), OF James Wood (Padres' No. 3/No. 88 overall), and RHP Jarlin Susana (Padres' No. 14).

  • Jan 13, 2023: Soto avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year deal with the Padres worth $23 million.

  • Dec 6, 2023: Soto was dealt to the Yankees in a seven-player deal.  The Padres get: RHP Michael King, RHP Jhony Brito, C Kyle Higashioka, RHP Drew Thorpe (Yankees' No. 5 prospect), RHP Randy Vásquez (Yankees' No. 13 prospect). The Yankees get: OF Juan Soto, OF Trent Grisham

  • Jan 12, 2024: Soto agrees to record-setting $31M deal to avoid arbitration with Yanks. 
Batting
  • Soto impresses all with his advanced feel at the plate. He made adjustments within at-bats and displayed impressive hand-eye coordination that allows him to be an above-average hitter.

    August 2021: Juan was recognized by National League managers as the best hitter and owner of the best strike-zone judgment in the league, via Baseball America's Best Tools survey.

    Soto has above-average power, thanks to strong hands and a simple swing.

  • Soto has good timing and feel for the barrel, keeping his hands inside the ball to square up pitchers at a high rate in games. He handles good velocity, recognizes spin and is a smart hitter who uses the whole field and already has a two-strike approach. It’s mostly doubles power right now with occasional over-the-fence sock. He squares up all kinds of pitches.

  • Juan is one of the purest hitters in the game.

    Juan gets a grade of 60 for his above-big-league-average hit tool and his power. He has an advanced hitting approach with a short, fluid lefthanded stroke and high baseball IQ.

    “He doesn’t have holes in his swing,” said a pro scout during the 2018 season. “And he has the best hitting approach on the team.”

  • With the strength and loft in his short, compact, easy lefthanded swing and the projection remaining on his frame, Juan should at least have average power, with some scouts projecting his future hitting and power grades to both be above-average.

    Soto is a pure hitter whose power should continue to increase as he gains strength. He has breakout potential along the lines of the Cubs’ Eloy Jimenez. (Spring, 2017)

  • Considered "a gamer" in the scouting community, Soto has above-average offensive tools and a graceful swing. He is not known to have a ton of raw power, but he doesn't swing and miss often. Scouts also rave about his knack for barreling balls.

    "Soto is a left-handed hitter with advanced feel for hitting and projection for power," said Nationals director of Latin American operations, Johnny DiPuglia. "He profiles as a corner outfielder with a solid arm and good instincts." (Sanchez - mlb.com - 7/2/15)

  • Soto has big raw power and should translate to above-average home run totals once he matures physically. He is an advanced hitter for his age, showing a feel for the barrel and good pitch-recognition skills. Juan has excellent plate coverage.

    “Soto has the potential to be an impact bat in the future,” Scialabba said. “He has an advanced approach with excellent barrel awareness, and he can leverage the ball from pole to pole. He’s an exciting hitter to watch develop. 

    “He’s still maturing physically and continues to impress our scouts and player-development staff with his ability and professionalism in all phases."

    Juan's rookie year (2018) he was only 19 years old.

    “When he’s 22, and then after that, imagine what kind of power he’s going to have,” Potomac hitting coach Luis Ordaz said. “He has the ability to use the whole field and hit for power. To me, he’s a big man, but he’s still a baby. He’ll get even stronger.”

    His father, also Juan Soto, taught him the importance of plate discipline at a young age.

    “He’s got a gift at knowing the strike zone real well,” Ordaz said. “The way he stays behind the ball at that young age has really impressed me a lot. He just needs to continue what he’s doing. He’s going to compete, and the other thing that really impressed me a lot is his two-strike approach.” (Lacy Lusk - Baseball America - 6/15/2018)

  • June 13, 2018:  Juan and Gleyber Torres of the Yankees have a combined age of 41 years, 48 days, the lowest by opposing players to homer in the same game since Mike Tiernan and Egyptian Healy on May 19, 1887.

  • Juan wasn't even "The Guy" in his own camp in Spring Training 2018. That was Victor Robles. It was Robles, Soto's fellow Dominican with the blazing speed, who was the Nationals' top prospect and a candidate for the top in baseball. Robles, two years older and coming off a year in which he starred at Double-A and made his big league debut, was Washington's wild card.

    But in June 2018, Soto is very much The Guy. Soto is taking his place as one of the most essential Nats of any age, at any position. And what's most remarkable is he's a teenager. He was born a week after the 1998 World Series. He's not just hitting for power. He's doing things that 25-year-olds often haven't mastered, never mind 19-year-olds who began the year in Class A ball.

    He has yet to pull a home run in the big leagues. He has four to the opposite field and one to straightaway center. He has only hit one home run off a right-handed pitcher. That sounds like a problem until you realize he's left-handed. Five big league homers, four of them against same-side pitching. Bryce Harper, by comparison, hit six homers against same-side pitching in the entirety of his 119-game rookie season.

    Soto is hitting singles and doubles, not just homers, and his .344/.447/.641 line on June 14, 2018, looks straight out of Harper's 2015 MVP season (.330/.460/.649). Soto is handling left-handed pitching. And he's walked more times than he's struck out. All this from a player who still does not have 600 professional plate appearances. Not Major League plate appearances -- professional, at any level.

    As Nationals reliever Justin Miller so succinctly put it: "He's the truth."

    This ridiculously talented youngster, who split 2017 between the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and the low Class A South Atlantic League, is also ridiculously refined at the plate. He's helped an offense that has gone without a slew of key players stay afloat.

    So marvel at the numbers. They're great fun. Soto is the fifth-youngest player in history to homer more than once in a game, the first since Andruw Jones and the first in the regular season since Ken Griffey Jr. He's the youngest player to homer even once at a ballpark called Yankee Stadium since Griffey.

    But also understand that this is more than a freakish hot streak. There's a maturity to Soto's offensive approach that makes this feel different from many of the rookie sensations we've seen in recent years. He might do things like this for a long time. (Leach - mlb.com - 6/14/18)

  • If you watch Soto’s swing from the side, it’s easy to see part of what has allowed him to have so much success so quickly. He couples blazing bat speed with a path to the ball that keeps the barrel through the hitting zone for a very long time.

    Add to that a sense of hand-eye coordination that allows him to quickly manipulate the barrel to different parts of the zone, and you get a hitter with an ability to make hard contact on a great variety of pitches.

    “The ability to get the barrel to the ball,” Nationals hitting coordinator Troy Gingrich said of Soto’s best attribute. “He has some lightning-quick hands, some bat speed, and he has the ability to let the ball travel. It’s almost like he’s going to get beat and then you see the ball going out to right-center on a pitch inside. His hand-eye coordination and how he can get the barrel to the ball, along with his bat speed and the power that he possesses, is uncanny.”

    Asked about the last time he’d seen a hitter with that combination of skills, Gingrich was quick with his response.

    “I haven’t seen it since Bryce Harper.”

    For all of Soto’s physical gifts—and there are plenty—his two-strike approach has gained the most acclaim. As the game has increasingly shifted toward an all-or-nothing mindset, Soto has shown at an early age a willingness to change his approach as the count dictates.

    Juan makes adjustments within an at-bat. That is unique.

    Soto credits his advanced game to a childhood spent being forced to adapt to advanced competition at an early age, which foreshadowed his early professional career.

    “When I was a child, I always played above my level,” Soto said. “When I was 12 years old, I was playing with guys who were 14-15 years old, so that helps. I played in tournaments, league and everything. I repped the D.R. like three times when I was a child—pitching, hitting and everything.” (Josh Norris

  • July 28, 2018: Soto continued his record-setting start to his career with another milestone -- tying Mickey Mantle for sixth place on the list for most home runs by a teenager in MLB history. 

  • August 3, 2018: Soto recorded three walks in this game, and he has now walked multiple times in nine games this season, matching Hall of Famer Mel Ott (1928) for the most by a teenager in a season in modern MLB history, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

  • August 7, 2018:  Juan's latest home run, in the first inning against the Braves, launched the 19-year-old into rarefied air.  Trailing by 0-2 in the count, Soto swatted a fastball left over the middle of the plate by left-hander Sean Newcomb into the opposite-field seats for a solo home run. It's his 14th homer of the season, moving Soto past Mickey Mantle into a tie with Phil Cavarretta for the fifth most by a teenager in MLB history.

    Only nine players in MLB history have ever hit more than 10 home runs as a teenager. Ken Griffey Jr. is next with 16 home runs before his 20th birthday, and Tony Conigliaro paces the list with 24. And the Nationals still have 50 games left on the schedule for Soto to continue climbing the list.  Soto's teammate Bryce Harper ranks second with 22 homers as a teenager.   (Collier - mlb.com)

  • Nationals farm director Mark Scialabba praised Soto’s attention to detail, work ethic and consistent preparation for each at-bat. In an era in which strikeouts keep creeping upward, Soto even changes his stance with two strikes. He had nearly as many walks (26) as strikeouts (30) as a teenager in the middle of a contending team’s big league lineup.

    “He continues to improve all aspects of his game—on the defensive side of the ball and on the bases as well,” Scialabba said in 2018. “He’s incredibly talented and understands the strike zone extremely well. Yet he has the confidence, poise and discipline to stay in the strike zone and attack pitches he can drive to all fields.”

  • August 29, 2018: Soto's 16th home run of the year, moved him into a tie with Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. for the fourth-most home runs by a teenager in MLB history.

  • September 11, 2018: It was the third multi-homer game of this phenomenal rookie season for Juan, who also connected on a two-run homer in the fourth, making him the first teenager in MLB history with three multi-homer games. Soto now has hit 18 home runs in 2018, surpassing Ken Griffey Jr. for the fourth most by a teenager in MLB history.

  • September 12, 2018: A solo shot off reliever Austin Davis in the top of the sixth at Citizens Bank Park gave Washington a 5-1 lead. The 19 homers as a teenager tie Hall of Famer Mel Ott for third all-time. Only Tony Conigliaro (24) and Bryce Harper (22) have hit more.

  • Sept 14, 2018: Juan set a goal for himself when he first arrived in the Majors, hoping to hit 15 home runs by the end of the season. Turns out he undersold himself. Soto hit his 20th home run of the year in the 10-5 loss to the Braves, swatting a first-pitch fastball from Kevin Gausman over the left-center-field wall for a solo home run in the fourth inning.

    The 20 home runs are the third most by a teenager in MLB history, as Soto trails teammate Bryce Harper (22) and Tony Conigliaro (24) for the most homers all time by a player before his 20th birthday, which Soto will not reach until Oct. 25.

    "I said, 'God, please, I want 15 homers,'" Soto said. "Now I have 20. That feels pretty good." At 19 years, 324 days, Soto became the second-youngest player in Major League history with 20 career homers, behind only Conigliaro, who was 123 days younger.

  • September 30, 2018: Soto launched a solo home run in the fifth inning of a 12-2 victory at Coors Field, his 22nd home run of the season, matching Bryce Harper for the second-most homers by a teenager in MLB history.

  • 2018 season: Key stat: .965 SLG to opposite field

    Soto's season was unprecedented, as he forced his way to the Majors and batted .292/.406/.517, good for a 142 OPS+ that is the highest ever produced by a teenager with at least 300 plate appearances.

    It's hard to pick out the most impressive thing Soto did at the plate, including his discipline and ability to handle lefties. But the fact that he beat out Judge and J.D. Martinez as the top oppo slugger in the game is certainly notable, with Soto going 42-for-85 (.494) with 22 extra-base hits when going the other way. (Andrew Simon- MLB.com- Dec. 27, 2018)

  • Soto had already risen two levels by the time he celebrated his 19th birthday in May, 2018 with Double-A Harrisburg, and he finished 2018 with perhaps the greatest offensive season by any teen in Major League history. Soto’s 22 homers (many of them hit to the opposite field) and .517 slugging would have been impressive enough, but his most jaw-dropping skill was probably his batter’s eye. Lower numbers are better when looking at strikeout minus walk rates for hitters, and few rookies around Soto’s age have ever shown a better mix of power and discipline.

    Lowest K-BB% by 21-or-under rookies with a .500+ SLG% (Min. 450 PAs) 1. Ted Williams (1939): -6.3%, 2. Hal Trosky (1934): -1.3%, 3. Joe DiMaggio (1936): 2.2%, 4. Albert Pujols (2001): 3.6%,, 5. Soto (2018): 4.0%.

    That’s unbelievable company for a teenager to keep, showing that Soto is already elite at a skill that most young players need years to develop.

  • April 28, 2019:  Juan, Victor Robles and Carter Kieboom made history against the Padres, becoming the first trio of teammates aged 21 or younger to homer in the same game in MLB history, according to Elias. 

  • Juan Soto is having more or less the same season in 2019 he had in 2018, and perhaps that's the problem.

    2018: .292/.406/.517, a .923 OPS with 22 HR and 70 RBI

    2019: .289/.400/.524, a .924 OPS with 20 HR and 70 RBI

    It's a carbon copy, basically, if slightly less valuable on a rate basis because offense around the Majors is up in 2019. If you look at his nine months in the Majors, you'll see nine good-to-great months, no poor ones. It's consistent, and maybe that's unexciting.

    There are no cold streaks, so there's no fevered "what's wrong with Juan Soto?" think pieces, like we've done with José Ramírez. There are no wild, Bryce Harper-esque up-and-downs that demand attention. There's just steady, regular, production, the kind of thing that makes Mike Trout so outstanding, and for all of that, sometimes we consider Trout to be boring.

    Because we live in a "squeaky wheel gets the grease" kind of world, we don't talk about the guy who's consistently good all the time, and that's a problem worth resolving here. Soto, remember, is 20 years old. He won't turn 21 until Oct. 25. In his first 924 plate appearances over 214 games, his line is .291/.403/.520, making him 42 percent better than league average. (That's using wRC+, a park-adjusted stat which sets "100" as league average, and Soto's is 142.)

    Again: He's 20. At 20, Christian Yelich was playing for Jupiter in the Florida State League. Anthony Rendon was a sophomore second baseman for Rice. Kris Bryant was at the University of San Diego. Soto, meanwhile, is off to one of the greatest starts in Major League history for someone this young.  

    But we can't tell you simply that "he's really, really good" without at least explaining why, so let's go ahead and do that. It's mostly about plate discipline, truly elite plate discipline. Over the last two years, only Trout, Harper and Carlos Santana have higher walk rates. Over the last two years, only seven players, all stars like Alex Bregman, Mookie Betts and Joey Votto, have chased at fewer pitches outside the strike zone.

    That's a great start, but in order to truly take advantage of that great eye, you've got to be able to hit the ball hard, too. Soto does -- giving him a combination that's incredibly rare, inhabited by only the best of the best.  

    But if you look past Soto because he doesn't capture the headlines, that's a problem for all of us. He's not just one of the most exciting young hitters in the game, right now. He might be one of the most exciting young hitters we've ever seen. (Petriello - mlb.com - 8/1/19)

  • Sept 11, 2019: A month ago, Juan Soto was having the same season in 2019 that he did in 2018. And that would have been amazing enough on its own, even historic, when you throw in that he's only 20 years old.

    But he's not having the same season anymore. He's having a better season. 

    Soto seems to have pulled off what every hitter dreams of. He's kept all of his contact and on-base ability, and added power. He hasn't abandoned the approach that star-struck fans a year ago. He's done this at an absurdly young age.

    If what he was doing before was already historic … Well, what do we call it now?

  • Oct 21, 2019: It’s the night of Game 3 of the National League Championship Series and Juan Soto is not happy.His swing is betraying him. His timing is off, and he feels too far out in front of every pitch. In the dugout, he confers with hitting coach Kevin Long, who tells him his hips are too quick. Normally, it’s an issue Soto can correct with the help of resistance-band workouts.

    It did not take long for Soto to find his stroke, 10-15 minutes max, Long estimates, in a session focused on getting Soto back to what he does best, driving the ball to the opposite field. The Cardinals peppered him with off-speed pitches and Soto began the NLCS 1-for-12 with one walk and seven strikeouts in the first three games. So Long and Soto headed into the batting cage just beyond the home dugout steps at Nationals Park, determined to get him back on the fastball. With each soft toss from Long and each flip in the cage, Soto focused on his contact point, letting the ball travel further and further in on home plate before swinging.

    “The next day was amazing,” Soto said. “I felt right away the difference. My swing was right there."

    The payoff came quickly with Soto going 2-for-4 with an RBI to help the Nats clinch the pennant.

    “Those were four of the best at-bats he might have had all year,” Long said. 

    And yet, Soto never shies away from these moments. He still does his customary “Soto shuffle” before at-bats, and he handles questions at media day in English, his second language.

    And he’s kept his smile and confidence along the way, all while producing like one of the best players in baseball with some of the biggest hits for the Nats this postseason -- the game-winning single off Josh Hader in the NL Wild Card Game and the game-tying homer off Clayton Kershaw in NLDS Game 5.

    “I just think it's a fight, just the pitcher and me,” Soto said. “I forget about everybody that's around me. I just think of the pitcher and me and look for one pitch and get my confidence like I've been doing all this stuff and try to enjoy the moment. I think that's the key.” (J Collier - MLB.com - Oct 21, 2019)

  • March 8, 2020: Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg were throwing off the mound Sunday morning when a star player of another type walked into the bullpen. What was Juan Soto doing in there?

    With a helmet on and bat in hand, the left fielder asked if he could stand at the plate while Strasburg went to work. Soto wanted to get a live look at some of baseball’s best pitching as a way to help himself stay in his strike zone. Strasburg agreed.

    “That’s how I train my eyes,” Soto said. “I try to take bullpens.”

    Soto stepped in not to swing, but rather to watch and learn, creating an image of two of the game’s dominant performers facing each other. This spring, Soto has stepped up to the plate against Strasburg and Aníbal Sánchez (twice), and he watched Scherzer throw a side.

    “He never gets to face our pitching,” manager Dave Martinez said. “So he likes standing up there to see what they’ve got. He’s always working on something.”

    The 21-year-old picked up this routine when he was playing in the Minor Leagues. He doesn’t plan it in advance -- schedules can be hard to coordinate during workouts -- so when he sees certain pitchers already throwing, he simply asks at that moment.

    “Some guys like those guys [the Nationals pitchers], they throw some pitches that look like strikes and then go to the outside of the zone,” Soto said. “That helps me a little bit and knowing sometimes some pitchers, they do that too.”

    Often times, Soto will have a goal in mind. Like, it was watching Strasburg’s curveball, the reigning World Series Most Valuable Player Award winner’s most-utilized pitch. Soto hit .288 with five home runs and 17 hits off that delivery in 2019. Once he feels comfortable observing it enough times, Soto leaves the box.

    “He’s got a really nasty curveball,” Soto said of Strasburg. “I wanted to see it a couple times and see the change in it.”“The more I try to track those pitchers -- Strasburg, Scherzer, Aníbal, all those guys -- they know what they’re doing, and they have nasty pitches,” Soto said. “That’s why I like standing out there.”  (J Camerato - MLB.com - March 8, 2020)

  • National's best eye at the plate in 2019: Some young players would be eager to step up to the plate and swing away. At 21 years old, Soto keeps a close eye. During his second Major League season, he led Washington and ranked third in the NL with 108 walks. Soto’s .401 on-base percentage trailed only Anthony Rendon on the team, and it was also fifth highest in the NL. When he swung, he had an impact. Soto's 34 homers tied Rendon for most on the Nationals -- and that was just during the regular season.

    During the Nats’ championship run, he compiled a .373 postseason OBP, including .438 with five walks and three homers in the World Series. Soto finds his own ways to continue improving, and he isn’t shy about it. One of his methods is asking pitchers if he can stand in at the plate while they throw bullpen sessions, as he did with Stephen Strasburg during Spring Training to get a look at his curveball. “That’s how I train my eyes,” Soto said. “I try to take bullpens.” -- Jessica Camerato

  • May 8, 2020: Who has the best power tool on the Nationals?  Juan Soto: 

    Standing in the batting cage during Spring Training this year, Soto’s swings sounded different. The 21-year-old left fielder is on his way to becoming a power hitter after just two Major League seasons. Last year, Soto tied with Anthony Rendon for the most home runs on the Nationals (34). He belted another five in the postseason while posting a .741 slugging percentage in the World Series.

    Of his 153 regular-season hits, 144 were to the outfield and 68 were the result of line drives. Among all big league players, Soto ranked 21st in hard-hit percentage (47.8) and 27th in average exit velocity (91.3 mph) last season, per Statcast.  –Jessica Camerato

  • Aug. 8, 2020: Soto's opposite-field shot in the second inning of the Nationals' 5-3 loss to the Orioles was the 57th of his young career, tying him with Mickey Mantle for the eighth most before turning 22. Now only seven players sit ahead of the Nats phenom on the leaderboard of those younger than 22: Mel Ott, Tony Conigliaro, Eddie Mathews, Ronald Acuña Jr., Ken Griffey Jr., Frank Robinson and Al Kaline.

  • Aug 17, 2020:: The Nationals’ Juan Soto was named the MLB NL Player of the Week. Soto continued his hot start to the season, hitting .462 over the week with a 1.077 slugging percentage. He started the week off with a 463-foot homer, the longest of his career. Then, he surpassed that personal record with a 466-foot home run.

    “It’s awesome,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “He deserved it. The guy had an unbelievable week. We always talk about Juan — he’s just that kid that wants to get better every day. He means a lot to us and this lineup.”

    Overall, he hit five home runs during the week and now has six on the season in 11 games. This is Soto’s first Player of the Week Award. (S Lange - MLB.com - Aug 17, 2020)

  • September 27, 2020:  Juan wins NL Batting Title.

    The 21-year-old edged out Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, .351 to .341, to become the first Nationals player to lead the NL in batting average.  Soto went 1-for-1 with a single and a walk in Washington’s dominating 15-5 win over the Mets in its season finale at Nationals Park.

    Soto became the youngest to win the NL batting crown and the fourth youngest to win his first career title across both leagues.  “I just feel really amazing, all the job we've done this year, and more when it's a fight that close," Soto said. "It just feels really good." “Outstanding,” manager Dave Martinez said. “What can we say about Juan Soto? He comes every day ready to play -- not just hitting, but his defense, his baserunning, everything. He just keeps growing every day. Congratulations to him and what he’s done. Unbelievable accomplishment.” 

    Adding to Soto’s already lengthy list of achievements for his age, his .351 batting average is the fourth highest by a player in his age-21 season or younger since 1900. He trails only Alex Rodriguez in '96 (.358), Lloyd Waner in '27 (.355) and Jimmie Foxx in '29 (.354).

    Soto’s .695 slugging percentage also tops all players in the same category, ahead of Mel Ott in 1929 (.635), Rodriguez in '96 (.631) and Eddie Mathews in '53 (.627). 

    Soto has a World Series championship and an NL batting title under his belt after only 313 regular-season games and 17 in October. So what’s next?

    “I definitely think you haven’t seen the best of the Juan Soto yet, that’s for sure,” Martinez said. “He’s going to continue to get better in all aspects of the game. You’re talking about not only a potential MVP this year, but for many, many years.”  (Camerato - mlb.com)

  • Nov 5, 2020: Soto takes home his first career Silver Slugger award in 2020 after leading the Majors in on-base percentage (.490), slugging percentage (.695) and, obviously, OPS (1.185). The 22-year-old phenom also took home the NL batting title with a .351 average to go with 13 homers in just 47 games.

  • Dec 9, 2020: Juan Soto’s standout 2020 season continued when the 22-year-old was named to the 2020 All-MLB First Team on Wednesday night on MLB Network. Soto joined Mookie Betts of the Dodgers and Mike Trout of the Angels in the outfield.

    The second annual All-MLB Team selections honor the top performances at each position in the regular season. Soto was a Second Team selection in 2019.

    Each team includes a catcher, first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, shortstop and designated hitter, along with three outfielders, five starting pitchers and two relievers. Voting for this year’s recognition was held in November, and results were split 50-50 between fans and a panel of experts.

    In only his third Major League season, Soto became the youngest player to win the National League batting title when he tallied a .351 average at the age of 21. His .490 on-base percentage, .695 slugging percentage, 1.185 OPS and 201 wRC+ were the highest rates by a qualified hitter since Barry Bonds in 2004.

    “I really focus more to hit for average, just try to put the ball in play as much as I can,” Soto said on MLB Network following the announcement. “I’ve worked really hard in the offseason for my power, so I know the power’s going to be there. I just try to put the ball in play and try to help my team.”

    Among NL players, Soto finished first in intentional walks (12), fourth in walks (41) and ninth in fWAR (2.4). He also recorded 54 hits, 13 homers, 37 RBIs, 39 runs and 14 doubles in 47 games. Soto finished fifth in the NL Most Valuable Player Award voting.

    With all the accolades Soto has garnered, it’s easy to imagine more in his future. Asked by MLB Network’s Harold Reynolds if he could win a Triple Crown, Soto smiled and said, “You never know. Maybe. I hope so. I’m going to keep grinding, man. You never know.” (J Camerato - MLB.com - Dec 9, 2020)

  • Spring Training 2021:  Juan's teammate, Josh Bell, a 5-year veteran, is  trying to learn from younger teammates, such as Soto.  Bell is watching Soto’s routine on a regular basis.  Why not?  After all, Soto is the best player on the team.  “To say that about a 22-year old … is pretty impressive,” Nats manager, Davey Martinez, said.  “It’s pretty impressive that it doesn’t matter who it is.  Bell wants to continue to learn and get better.”  (Ladson - mlb.com - 3/21/2021)

  • Sept 22, 2021: To appreciate Soto’s power at the plate, his discipline there should also be recognized. He drew his 130th walk of the season in the fifth inning, tying the Nationals’ single-season team record (2005-present) set by Bryce Harper in 2018. Soto has a commanding lead over second-place Joey Gallo (109). (J Camerato - MLB.com - Sept 22, 2021)

  • Sept. 24, 2021: Soto has entered some elite company that sees the 22-year-old's name alongside one of the better players in MLB history, Ken Griffey Jr.

    In a game against the Reds, Juan reached base safely for the 12th straight plate appearance, passing Griffey Jr. for the longest streak by a player age-22 or younger in the Expansion era (since 1961), per ESPN Stats & Info.

    Furthermore, it's the longest streak by any young player in Nationals/Expos franchise history. However, Soto could make more history before the 2021 season ends since he has 108 total runs, which is 11 shy of Alfonso Soriano's franchise record from 2006.

  • Juan reaches base quite frequently.  He has an MLB-leading 25 games reaching base safely at least four times as of September 2021.  Next most such games?  14, by Freddie Freeman and Carlos Correa.  That’s quite the gap. 

    Where does Soto’s total rank in history?  There have been just seven individual seasons since at least 1901 where a player had more than 25 games where they reached base safely at least four times.  Those performances came from: Barry Bonds (2001-02, ‘04), Babe Ruth (1920, ‘23, ‘31) and Lou Gehrig (1931).  Talk about next-level company.  (Langs - mlb.com - 9/28/2021)

  • 2021 Silver Slugger Award Winner - Outfield (Second Time)

    One of the toughest outs in the game, Soto picked up his second straight Silver Slugger Award for the Nationals after putting up an eye-popping .313/.465/.534 slash line with 29 homers, 95 RBIs, 145 walks and 111 runs scored.

  • April 22, 2022: Ten days after homering his way to a career milestone, Soto reached another notable mark. In the series opener against the Giants, Soto collected hit No. 500 of his career. And like with his 100th home run achievement, he did it at an exceptional pace for his age.

    “He's probably going to end up getting a whole lot more, but the kid is so young,” manager Dave Martinez said following the Nats’ 7-1 loss to the Giants at Nationals Park. “Like I've said before, the sky is the limit with him.” (J Camerato - MLB.com - April 23, 2022)

  • July 18, 2022: The last time Juan was at Dodger Stadium, he was sitting in the front row during the National League Wild Card Game, rooting on his former teammates Trea Turner and Max Scherzer. During that visit, Soto tweeted he didn’t know that homers “look so fun from the stands.”

    Soto gave the Dodger Stadium crowd a show of his own, beating Mariners star Julio Rodríguez in the finals to become the second-youngest player to win the Home Run Derby -- one day older than Juan González was (23 years, 265 days) when he won in 1993.  Soto, who said he had “a lot” of family in attendance, dedicated his win to his support system. “It’s really exciting. I’m really excited and proud of what I just accomplished,” Soto said. “My family has always been with me and they keep things really positive for me. I honestly never thought I’d get this far, but thanks to them, here we are.” (J Toribio - MLB.com - July 19, 2022)

  • Aug. 22, 2022: MLB star outfielder Juan Soto is on a new team, the San Diego Padres, but he keeps dominating the league in one specific category: walks. There isn’t a player in the league with Soto’s plate discipline.

    Sure, a handful of players walk a lot and rarely strike out, but none of them has the kind of strike zone mastery Soto has demonstrated each year since making his MLB debut in 2018.

     In fact, if you take a look at the leaders in walks in Major League Baseball, you will see Soto at the top and then a large gap between him and the second-placed hitters.

    “MLB BB Leaders: 1.) 108 – Juan Soto. 2a.) 69 – Aaron Judge. 2b.) 69 – Jesse Winker,” MLB Network tweeted.

  • May 22, 2023: Over his last 21 games, Soto is at .333/.468/.627. That on-base percentage is second in the Majors in that span, the slugging is seventh and batting average is 11th. His 198 wRC+ in that span ranks fourth, behind Yandy Díaz (231), Luis Robert (216) and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (207).

    That’s more like it. Here’s why Soto is back and why the turnaround is built to last. What's changed?

    He’s started putting the ball in the air decisively. In his first 26 games, 34.4% of his batted balls were fly balls and line drives. Since then, it’s been 42.4%. Why does that contact matter? Well, Soto is hitting .522 and slugging 1.239 on fly balls and line drives. That’s contact worth making. (S Lang - MLB.com - May 23, 2023)

  • July 26, 2023: Juan Soto became the 12th player with 5 20+ HR seasons thru his age-24 season, joining: Mike Trout Bryce Harper Giancarlo Stanton Alex Rodriguez Ken Griffey Jr Tony Conigliaro Orlando Cepeda Frank Robinson Mickey Mantle Eddie Mathews Mel Ott. (Sarah Langs)

  • Sept. 17, 2023: According to MLB, Soto hit his first career grand slam against the Oakland Athletics.

  • Nov. 2023: Silver Slugger Award winner. Soto’s season came with a lot of big numbers. That included a career-high 35 dingers, a .410 on-base percentage and a 158 OPS+.

    With 132 walks, Soto became the first player since Barry Bonds from 2002-04 to lead MLB outright in bases on balls for three consecutive years. 


  • What makes Soto so dangerous at the plate is his lack of flaws. He routinely ranks near the top of all leaderboards in quality of contact. Since his rookie season in 2018, Soto has never finished below the 90th percentile in xwOBA, which is considered the best predictive statistic of future success. His 55.3 percent hard-hit rate in 2023 ranked in the 99th percentile. His eye at the plate may be his best skill — Soto hasn’t finished below the 98th percentile in chase rate for the past four years, and he’s already led MLB in walks in three of his six seasons. (Kuty/Kirschner - Dec 6, 2023 - The Athletic)
Fielding
  • Juan has good outfield instincts and tracks down balls well, but he’s best suited for a corner position, because of his below-average speed and average arm strength. Soto has a long way to go, but he came to Viera, Florida for Instructional League in 2015. (Spring 2016)

  • Soto's got a 40 or 45 grade for both his fielding and for his arm.

  • Soto is just an average runner, and profiles as a corner outfielder because of that, which put additional pressure on his bat—his best tool. He currently has fringe-average arm strength that is better suited to left field than right, but he uses his legs efficiently on throws and is young enough to safely project an average arm as he continues to mature. (Spring, 2018)

  • Aug 2, 2019: Soto is getting better on defense. In 2018, Soto was worth -6 Outs Above Average, putting him in just the 16th percentile of outfielders. (A simple way to think about it: An average outfielder would have been expected to catch 86% of the opportunities he received, but Soto caught just 83%, a deficit of 3%.)

    This year 2019, Soto has been worth +4 Outs Above Average, putting him in the Top 25. While he'll never be considered a truly elite fielder like his Nationals teammate Victor Robles, Soto has gone from a negative to a mild plus. He's again been expected to catch 86% of the opportunities he's received, but now he's catching 88% of them, a swing of plus-five percentage points from last year.

    This catch he made on June 30 in Detroit had just a 35% Catch Probability, the best catch of his brief career.

    It's not that Soto got faster, because he didn't; his Sprint Speed of 27.2 feet per second has been identical in both seasons, and is just a tick faster than the Major League average of 27.0 feet per second. It's that he did, well, exactly what he said he'd do back in Spring Training.

    "The more I work on my defense, the better my future will be,” he told Collier in March. As Collier detailed, Soto and Nationals coach Bobby Henley would "work on drills designed to quicken [Soto's] first step."

    We can measure that sort of thing now, and it's worked. Last year, Soto's jumps -- feet covered in the right direction in the first three seconds -- were completely average. This year, he's gone from the 52nd percentile to the 78th percentile. His reaction time (feet covered in the first 1.5 seconds) is now baseball's third best, behind Jackie Bradley Jr. and Ramón Laureano. Like Trout always seems to do, he found something to get better at ... and he did it.

    Soto wasn't a first-round Draft pick, because he signed as an international free agent. He wasn't Rookie of the Year, because Acuña put up a pretty historic season of his own. He wasn't even an All-Star this year, because Yelich, Cody Bellinger and Acuña were worthy starters and the players, perhaps blinded by batting average, selected Charlie Blackmon, David Dahl and Jeff McNeil as reserves ahead of him.  (M Petriello - MLB.com - Aug 2, 2019)

Running
  • Juan is a slightly below-average runner, with a 45 grade. 

  • Soto is held back a bit by his lack of running ability.

  • September 15, 2018: Soto displayed a different element of his extremely talented game in a 7-1 victory against the Braves. Soto swiped three bases -- all with Atlanta right-hander Julio Teheran on the mound -- making him the youngest player in MLB history with three stolen bases in a single game.

    Rickey Henderson had been the previous record holder at 20 years and 241 days before Soto became the first teenager to accomplish the feat at 19 years and 325 days.

Career Injury Report
  • May 4, 2017: Soto was on the DL with an ankle injury.

    That season, Juan was limited to only 32 games after fracturing his ankle, breaking a hamate bone and dealing with a hamstring injury late in the year.

    It may have seemed like a star-crossed season, but the Dominican standout is rolling with the education that his health woes provided.

    "It had its good and its bad, actually," he said through an interpreter. "It may have seemed bad on its surface, but because I learned so many things about my body, how to treat some of the injuries, how to prevent certain things, how to strengthen parts of my body that were weak. There was some good to it."

  • May 1, 2019:  Nationals left fielder Juan Soto was a late scratch from the lineup against the Cardinals after experiencing back spasms.

    May 1-11, 2019: Soto was on the IL with back spasms.

  • Aug 11, 2019: Soto pulled up injured rounding third base and at first could not put any weight on his ankle. Soto admitted he was afraid he had broken his foot, the same injury he suffered in May of 2017.

    Martinez said he nearly choked on sunflower seeds in the dugout when the injury occurred. Subsequent X-rays were negative. Soto is day-to-day.

  • July 23-Aug 4, 2020: Juan tested positive for Covid-19 but was asymptomatic. He went on the IL.

  • April 20-May 4, 2021:  Soto was on the IL with a left shoulder strain. Soto can’t pinpoint one particular motion that caused the shoulder strain this year, only that he felt the discomfort when throwing but not swinging. An MRI revealed the injury.

    Soto’s early treatment program has been massage and rest. He will go through his recovery program at the alternate training site in Fredericksburg, Virginia, while the Nats are on a five-game road trip against the Mets and Blue Jays. Per health and safety protocols, players on the IL do not travel with the team.

  • Aug 5, 2021: Soto said he felt something in his right knee when he took a secondary lead and scored from second in the ninth inning of the game against the Cubs. Manager Dave Martinez called it a “tweaked knee” and did not think it was a “major concern,” but opted to rest him out of an abundance of caution.

  • July 4, 2022: Soto said the morning of July 4 that an MRI taken the previous night showed “everything was fine” after he exited the July 3 game with left calf tightness. He felt discomfort behind his knee after fielding a Bryan De La Cruz double to right field in the third inning. The tightness persisted the following frame while he was running the bases.

    “It’s going to be day by day,” Soto said. “I feel better, and we’ll take it from there.”

  • Sept 7, 2022: Soto exited a game with right shoulder contusion after being hit by a pitch.  He crumpled in a heap in the batter's box but remained in the game for two innings before being removed.

    "I think he's going to be OK, hopefully, after an off day," Melvin said. "Initially when you get hit, the strength kind of goes away. He tried to go in the cage and swing a little bit, and it wasn't great.