Washington Nationals: Juan Soto continues to lock up rookie of the year
By Blake Finney
The Washington Nationals have been blessed with rookie Juan Soto in 2018. On Saturday, he showed why he’s a virtual lock for the rookie of the year award.
If you feel like you’re running out of superlatives to describe Washington Nationals rookie sensation Juan Soto, you aren’t alone. He had a doubleheader to remember on Saturday against the Cincinnati Reds.
Over the two games combined, he went 4 for 8 with four runs and continues to be a spark plug at the top of the lineup. It’s getting to the point where he’s now the clear overwhelming favorite for National League rookie of the year.
Among NL rookies, entering Saturday, Soto ranked second in WAR behind Brian Anderson. This despite Anderson having nearly twice as many ABs as Soto, so the Nats youngster looks on course to overtake him soon.
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Not only that, he’s standing out overall in the league. He’s now second, among those with at least 20 ABs, in the NL in OPS with a .984, just behind Matt Carpenter who’s at .987 after a homer on Saturday.
It seems like every single game that Juan Soto plays, he’s consistently one of the most dangerous bats in the lineup. His ability to draw walks and go the opposite way leaves fans speechless, and he should lock up RoY honors in November.
Gio struggles again in Game 1
In the first game of the split doubleheader, the Reds pounced early and often on Gio Gonzalez. The lefty only ended up going 3.2 innings, while giving up a whopping 10 hits and five runs.
In three starts since the All-Star break, he’s got a 6.06 ERA, but also he’s given up 11 walks in just 16.1 innings. Something has been off with Gonzalez
That was the case on Saturday as he was consistently missing location on his pitches again. This was highlighted by leaving a changeup hanging to Phillip Ervin, and a fastball high to Brandon Dixon. Both of these pitches left the yard. With Tommy Milone impressing in his two starts, Gonzalez needs to tighten things up to keep his rotation spot.
Bryce leaves in game two after HBP
In a concerning moment in the second game, Bryce Harper was hit by a curveball from Austin Brice. After a while down in pain, he tried to play through it but asked to be taken out in the top of the next inning.
It was at least encouraging that Harper was able to run the bases and walk around after the game. However, as we saw with Matt Adams and Anthony Rendon, it’s not easy to diagnose these injuries with the swelling.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Nats hold out Harper on Sunday if he’s not fully healthy. But there’s a chance he might be ready to go if it was just a stinger that clears up quickly.
The Washington Nationals now look for a series win on Sunday with the resurgent Tanner Roark on the bump. He’s pitched two games in his last outings, combining for 15 innings of one-run ball and could continue his fine run.