Took some time, though Juan Soto is finally getting some recognition as an up-and-coming young player in the majors today.
Who are the fresh young faces of Major League Baseball? The debate burns on about who the best player in the game is, whether Mookie Betts has surpassed Mike Trout. While neither Betts nor Trout has reached their 30th birthday, the game has been overtaken by even younger and louder stars. And finally, Juan Soto, who comes from this mold, is getting some well deserved exposure.
The Topps Baseball Card Company announced Juan Soto would be their cover athlete for the 2021 Series 1, packs of baseball cards. An honor in the sporting card industry likened to that of donning the cover of Sports Illustrated in the magazine industry.
Until now, seemed like Soto had to take a backseat to some of the other up and coming young stars of the game. A 2019 Postseason promo for MLB touted the slogan “Let The Kids Play” and featured some of the young stars of the game bat flipping, chest pounding, and dancing their way around the diamond. A 19 year old Juan Soto broke onto the scene that year and hit 22 home runs while driving in 70, with a .292 batting average.
He was left out of the commercial, and for good reason, the Washington Nationals failed to make the postseason.
In the 2019 postseason promo, Soto made the clip for a brief second, dancing in the dugout following what we’ll assume was a home run. Ronald Acuna Jr, whom the MLB seems to love publicizing, made multiple appearances, each twice as long as Soto’s cameo. Of the four players on the still frame photo, Aaron Judge, Alex Bregman, Cody Bellinger, and Acuna, only Bregman had experienced success in the World Series at the time.
Following his 34 regular seasons home runs, Soto would hit .333 with three home runs during the World Series win over the Houston Astros.
The Opening Day commercial leading into the 2020 season featured all the young names in the game, and did shine the light on the Soto Shuffle. Acuna followed him up each time he appeared on screen. As the year went on Fernando Tatis Jr. seemed to be the new kid on the block as far as winning screen time.
Granted, the Nationals faltered out of the gate and all season for that matter. Though MLB should have marketed Soto more, no? He is everything baseball wants it’s players to be. Young, loud, fast, entertaining. Soto has given us plenty of fodder the past two seasons. From dancing ON the dugout after a teammate’s home run to carrying his bat all the way to first base on his own home run, because “it looked fun.” His confidence exudes each time he steps to the plate and shuffles.
Juan Soto is one of the games best young talents and should be marketed as such. Good for the Topps Card Company for recognizing him and putting him on the cover of their pack of cards.