Juan Soto is a boy with a man’s bat. With his two–home run night in the Bronx on Thursday, the 19-year-old Nationals outfielder became the fifth youngest player in baseball’s live-ball era with a multi-homer game, and the list (Danny Murphy, Mel Ott, Ken Griffey Jr., Andruw Jones) puts him in some pretty damned good company. Not bad for a kid who was born two days after the Yankees’ 1998 championship parade, and who started this season, just two months ago, in Class-A ball.
And Soto is raking. In 20 games and 78 plate appearances, he is batting .344 with five homers and 11 RBI and sporting a 1.088 OPS.
“For him to go out there and do what he did today, in front of this crowd,” manager Dave Martinez said, “it tells you a little bit about the character that he brings.” In the other dugout, Aaron Boone put it even more succinctly: “Strong kid.”
Soto accounted for four RBIs in Washington’s 5-4 win over the Yankees, muscling what looked like a harmless opposite-field fly ball into the seats in the fourth, then crushing a 436-foot bomb to right-center in the seventh.
With the Jacks, Soto is the youngest player with a multi–home run game since Andruw Jones in 1996, and the youngest to do it in the regular season in Yankee Stadium since Griffey in 1989. “Two good outfielders,” Soto said when told of the feat. “I like that.”
As long as he stays healthy, Soto’s going to be mentioned in the same breath as a whole bunch of other great players this year:
Tired: The Yankees pursuing Bryce Harper this winter.
Wired: The Yankees offering Soto $500M in 2025.