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.
UPDATE: Welp, Hécto Gómez may not have this one right. Scott Mitchell of TSN is reporting that it’s “highly unlikely” Guerrero is recalled unless some sort of injury occurs, so I suppose we should all stand down.
Anyone up for keeping him down until the Super Two cutoff in June?
3:35 PM: Héctor Gómez, a baseball writer from the Dominican Republic, reports that The Blue Jays will call up Vladimir Guerrero Jr. He will reportedly make his MLB’s debut on Tuesday. The Blue Jays have not confirmed this yet, but I’m sure we’ll hear sometime this weekend.
As we’ve noted over and over, Guerrero has nothing left to prove in the minors and has not had anything to prove there for some time. Guerrero is currently 7-for-17, with a line of .412/.500/.824 in five Triple-A games this year. In one he hit the ball clear the heck out of the stadium. This coming off a 2018 season in which he hit .381/.437/.636 with 20 home runs and 78 RBI in 408 minor league plate appearances.
A minor injury in spring training made Guerrero unavailable for Opening Day and gave the Jays cover to keep him down in the minors to start the season. With that Guerrero is ensured of not getting a full year’s worth of service time in 2019 and thus the Jays have obtained a full six years of control of him after this season. As such, there really is no baseball nor business reason to keep him down on the farm any longer.