Juan Soto was already one of the best young players in the majors by the end of last season, but the Nationals left fielder got his first taste of the national stage during the playoffs and didn’t disappoint. Soto shuffled and homered his way into stardom, posting a .927 OPS with five long balls and 14 RBIs as Washington won its first World Series in franchise history.
Now entering his age-21 season, Soto will have the chance to make a case for being sent to the first All-Star Game of his career. A fringe candidate last season who ultimately wasn’t selected, Soto now has the leaguewide name recognition that should help aid his campaign for the fan vote.
“It's gonna be a dream if I play in the All-Star Game,” Soto told NBC Sports Washington’s Matt Doolin on the Nationals Talk podcast. “Everyone wants to play in the All-Star Game. We gonna keep grinding and if it happens thanks God but if not...let's keep grinding to make it.”
Soto was also asked if he’d play in the Home Run Derby if invited but neglected to give any indication to his leanings. With 56 home runs in his first two seasons, Soto is tied with Tony Conigliaro for the second-most homers before turning 21 in MLB history—only Hall of Famer Mel Ott (61) had more.
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Given his swagger in the batter’s box and penchant for coming through in big moments, Soto would surely be a valuable get for MLB if he’s willing to participate in the Derby.
The Nationals are hoping Soto develops into an MVP-caliber player to anchor their lineup following the departure of Anthony Rendon in free agency. He’ll have every opportunity to rack up big numbers in the middle of their order, giving him as a good a shot as any to make his “dream” a reality.
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