Washington Nationals: Grading the offensive players
By Blake Finney
Outfielder – Juan Soto
Where would the Washington Nationals be right now without Juan Soto? Certainly, without a few wins that they currently possess that’s for sure.
Nobody expected Soto to be up this soon, but he’s proven he belongs. A .324 batting average, 1.008 OPS, and leave no doubt about his ability. He even has two intentional walks, which speaks volumes in itself.
Of batters with at least 120 plate appearances, that 1.008 OPS ranks fifth in the major leagues, and top in the National League. Yes, that’s right, top in the NL. Above the likes of Nolan Arenado, Freddie Freeman in that category, which is staggering.
He’s the runaway favorite for NL Rookie of the Year as things stand. Ronald Acuña, Austin Meadows, and Walker Buehler may well put the pressure on with strong finishes to the season, but it’s Soto’s to lose.
The one knock on Soto so far in 2018, has been his sub-par defense in left field. He has a negative four Defensive Runs Saved in the field, and we’ve seen a few plays that make us hold our breath. But when you’re hitting as ludicrously well as Soto is, this is acceptable right now.
At this point, the superlatives just run out for how great the young Dominican has been. This was one of the easiest grades to give in this list. A+