Bryce Harper and Fernando Tatis Jr. are engaged in a tight race for the National League MVP award with less than a week to go in the 2021 season and Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo wants to make sure a third candidate for the hardware isn't forgotten.
"I think [Juan] Soto has to be in that conversation also," Rizzo told the Sports Junkies Wednesday. "His numbers are comparable. I think it's going to be a dog race. I think that Soto, Harper and Tatis are going to battle through it. I'm not sure who's going to win that thing."
Soto has been a consistent presence in the Nationals' lineup all season regardless of the talent hitting around him before and after the trade deadline. But once September hit, he took it to another level.
In the final month of the season alone, Soto is slashing .411/.571/.711 with a 1.283 OPS, seven home runs and 22 RBI. Add in the fact that he has far less help in the lineup around him as players like Harper and Tatis do, and those numbers become even more staggering.
Still, Soto isn't the favorite to take home the award. According to PointsBet Sportsbook, he has the second-best odds for the award at +400. Soto has pulled ahead of Tatis (+600) but isn't the heavy favorite that Harper (-400) has become with just a few games left to go.
If Soto doesn't bring home the NL MVP, he could still claim a batting title over his former teammate Trea Turner. With just four games to play, Soto (.318) trails Turner (.325) by seven points and will need to put together a great closing weekend to catch Turner.
Either way, the Nationals look like they'll have connections to nearly every award race in the National League.
"When you talk about a batting champion with Harper, Soto and Turner, those are three guys that are near and dear to us, and the two Cy Young award winners should be familiar names to us and in MVP. So the Nationals fingerprints will be all over the postseason awards. Unfortunately, we don't have any of them."