Juan Soto broke into the majors with the Nationals as a 19-year-old in 2018 and took the league by storm. The Dominican outfielder finished runner-up to Ronald Acuña Jr. in NL Rookie of the Year voting before helping the Nationals to their first World Series title in 2019.
Over the next three years, he collected an impressive series of accolades for Washington including two Silver Slugger awards, two All-Star selections, a 2020 NL batting title and the 2022 Home Run Derby title.
After attempts to sign Soto to a long-term extension failed, the Nationals traded him to the San Diego Padres at the deadline in a blockbuster deal that resulted in eight different players changing teams.
Here’s everything you need to know about the former Nationals superstar.
Juan Soto’s bio
- Height: 6-foot-2
- Weight: 224 lbs
- Birthdate: Oct. 25, 1998 (23 years old)
- Hometown: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
- MLB experience: 5 seasons (2018-22)
- Debut: May 20, 2018
- Jersey number: No. 22
- Agent: Scott Boras
Juan Soto’s MLB stats
Juan Soto played his final game with the Nationals on Aug. 1, 2022, a game in which he reached base four times, hit a home run off his former Nationals teammate Max Scherzer, stole a base and threw a runner out at home.
Here are the final stats for Soto's Nationals career:
- 565 games, 2,439 plate appearances, 1,954 at-bats
- .291 batting average, .427 on-base percentage, .538 slugging percentage
- 569 hits, 119 home runs, nine triples, 108 doubles, 38 stolen bases
- 358 RBIs, 399 runs scored, 464 walks, 414 strikeouts
When is Juan Soto a free agent?
Juan Soto will hit free agency after the 2024 season, just after he turns 26 years old. In his introductory press conference with the Padres, Soto was non-committal on whether he would consider a long-term deal with his new club.
Juan Soto’s contract details
Juan Soto qualified for arbitration in 2021 as a Super 2 player, allowing him to negotiate a salary a year earlier than most players. He made the league minimum each year from 2018 to 2020 before agreeing with the Nationals on salaries of $8.5 million and $17.1 million in 2021 and 2022, respectively.
Why the Nationals traded Juan Soto
The Nationals made three formal extensions offers to Juan Soto during the 2022 season, the last of which was for 15 years and $440 million. He declined all three, ultimately leading to his trade to San Diego. Washington felt that it wasn't going to be able to extend Soto before he became a free agent, so the rebuilding club decided to trade him at the peak of his value with two and a half years of control remaining on his contract.
What the Nationals received in Juan Soto trade
The Nationals traded Juan Soto along with first baseman Josh Bell to the San Diego Padres for first baseman Luke Voit, shortstop C.J. Abrams, left-handed pitcher MacKenzie Gore, outfielder Robert Hassell III, outfielder James Wood and right-handed pitcher Jarlin Susana.
At the time of the trade, Voit was a six-year MLB veteran with two and a half years left on his contract. Abrams and Gore were former top prospects who were in the middle of their rookie seasons. Per MLB Pipeline, Hassell III and Wood were the 21st and and 88th overall prospects in baseball, respectively, while Susana was a highly regarded 18-year-old pitching in the Arizona Complex League.
Juan Soto's Home Run Derby performances
Juan Soto won the 2022 Home Run Derby at Dodger Stadium, besting Seattle Mariners outfielder Julio Rodríguez 19-18 in the final round. He entered the field as the No. 4 seed, setting up a matchup with the fifth-seeded José Ramírez in the first round.
Soto was the higher seed for each of his matchups and thus knew exactly how many home runs he had to hit each time he took the batter's box in order to move on. He knocked off Ramírez 18-17 then took on fellow Dominican star Albert Pujols in the next round. He won 16-15 to earn a spot in the championship opposite Rodríguez, who slugged 63 homers in the first two rounds.
Rodríguez, perhaps tired out from how many long balls he had already hit, smacked 18 home runs before ceding home plate to Soto. He needed extra time to do it but ultimately hit that 19th home run to become the second-youngest Derby champ in MLB history behind only Juan Gonzalez.
It was Soto's second consecutive Derby appearance after he competed in the 2021 Home Run Derby at Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies. That year Soto was the eighth and final seed, having hit the fewest long balls of any participant (11) heading into the All-Star Break.
Soto matched up with Los Angeles Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani in the first round. They had a battle for the ages, requiring a swing-off in which Soto hit three straight homers to determine a winner. One of Soto's blasts traveled 520 feet, setting a new record for the longest home run in Derby history.
His run ended in the second round, however, as he lost to eventual champion Pete Alonso. The New York Mets slugger beat Baltimore Orioles infielder Trey Mancini to claim his second-straight Derby title.