Juan Soto reaches rare milestone with 20th home run

Juan Soto
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Nationals rookie Juan Soto‘s meteoric rise has hardly gone unnoticed this year, and on Friday, he added to an already-impressive resume with a solo shot off of Kevin Gausman‘s 95.1-MPH fastball in the fourth inning. Not only did the 383-footer narrow the Nationals’ deficit against the Braves to just one run, but it also placed the outfielder in rare company: At 19 years old, he’s only the third teenager to record at least 20 home runs in major league history.

The two former rookies who also share this record? One of them still belongs to the Nationals, as Bryce Harper was the last to do it after finishing his age-19 season with 22 home runs in 2012. The first player to record the feat, however, was Tony Conigliaro of the 1964 Red Sox. The young outfielder rounded out his first year in the big leagues with an as-yet unchallenged record of 24 total homers before his 20th birthday.

Soto has been white-hot since his call-up in May, but managed to ramp up the intensity even more over his last few games this month. Entering Friday’s contest, he’s batted .364/.451/.636 with three homers and a 1.087 OPS in 51 plate appearances since the start of September, and is proving a stiff competitor to Atlanta rookie Ronald Acuña as award season draws near.