First a public service announcement: Juan Soto turns 24 – 24 on Tuesday!
It’s easy to forget that when you recall Soto’s exploits for the Nationals in the 2019 World Series at the end of his season at the age of 20. It’s also easy to forget that Soto has been through quite a whirlwind in recent months. Rejecting a 15-year, $440 million Nationals bid. Getting sent to the Padres in what might be the biggest deadline trade ever. Beat on a new coast, with a new team, in a new city for less power.
No, he’s not the old Soto, at least not yet, but he’s showing lightning, as evidenced by his performance in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series on Wednesday. In his first at-bat, Soto beat a grounder at 113.6 mph for second place – good process, bad result. In his second he landed again. But his third shot, ah, that was the keeper. The one that brought back memories of 2019.
One out, runners in first and third place, Padres behind Phillies, 4-3. Aaron Nola edged Soto 2-0, throwing him a substitution and an ankle turn.
Soto, as usual, lay in wait.
“I look carefully every time so I don’t get caught by the fastball,” he said. “If you throw me something else and catch me, that’s fine. But I won’t let the fastball catch me by surprise. I’ll stay tuned, try to get in touch.”
Read the whole column here.
(Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea / USA Today)