Pressure doesn’t seem to affect 20-year-old slugger Juan Soto. After playing the role of hero in the National League Wild Card game against the Brewers, the Nationals’ outfielder swatted a two-run home run to center field, opening the scoring against Dodgers lefty and NL Cy Young Award contender Hyun-Jin Ryu in the first inning of NLDS Game 3 in Washington, D.C.
Soto was a runner-up to Ronald Acuña Jr. in NL Rookie of the Year voting last year. He followed it up with an equally impressive sophomore campaign in 2019, batting .282/.401/.548 with 34 home runs, 110 RBI, 110 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 659 plate appearances. He’s one of only four players with a 30-homer, 110-RBI season at age 20 or younger. The others are Álex Rodríguez, Ted Williams, and Mel Ott. Pretty good company.
Nationals starter Aníbal Sánchez will take the early run support from Soto. In the top half of the first inning, Sánchez allowed a single and a pair of walks to load the bases but escaped the threat.