Slightly more than two weeks ago, Juan Soto came out with the greatest quote of the year:
Juan Soto on what he’s done to get things going at the plate after a brief slump:— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) September 2, 2018
“Just keep doing Juan Soto things.”
But two weeks later, Nationals fans are left with the question: what, exactly, are Juan Soto things? Aside from the fact that he’s a 19-year-old superstar who started the year in Single-A and absolutely deserves to win the Rookie of the Year award in the NL (if only because he’s far more inspiring than Ronald Acuña, who was very much on the radar this year), it could have meant anything. Luckily, we did some deep research to compile a list of the things that are certified Soto things.
1. Multi-homer games
Juan Soto's 3 multi-HR games are the most by a teenager in @MLB history. pic.twitter.com/sW2vbOeipM— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 12, 2018
Juan Soto hit 2 HRs in a game at Yankee Stadium. #ChildishBambino— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 18, 2018
P.S. He's 19. pic.twitter.com/ztbuqMrJ2N
Many players who crack the majors never even hit one home run, let alone multiple homers over different games.
For Soto to have done it three times at age 19 is obscene and fits in with the concept of “Juan Soto things” — he can be confident because he’s done it.
2. 20+ homers in a season
.@Nationals 19 year old rookie Juan Soto has 20 home runs on the season.... His HR spray chart is beautiful pic.twitter.com/MAjma6rRJK— Daren Willman (@darenw) September 16, 2018
Complete list of teenagers in @MLB history with more HRs than Juan Soto:— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 15, 2018
Tony Conigliaro (24)
Bryce Harper (22) pic.twitter.com/VLqSPInWdk
On the subject of things very few major leaguers do, especially as teenagers: Soto has the most homers in a teenage season since Bryce Harper — and the only player to hit more was Tony Conigliaro. If Soto hits five more — difficult but not impossible — he could hold a spot in the history books. Below Soto are legendary names already — think Ken Griffey, Jr., Edgar Renteria, and Mel Ott.
3. Silly numbers and an incomparable command of the strike zone
Soto’s numbers make the case not just for the best teenage season ever, but for an exceptional season by any standard.
His OPS—.954 at press time—is higher than that of Mel Ott in his teenage season (.921, which far outpaces every other teenage season), and would be fourth-best in the majors if Soto had a few more plate appearances to qualify him for the leaderboards — he’s only behind Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, and Jose Ramirez (and ahead of Acuña’s .942 clip). Meanwhile, his .305 batting average puts him at 6th in the NL and thirteen points ahead of Acuña.
Soto also has a command of the strike zone that most players take years to develop — in just 105 games and 445 plate appearances, pitchers have walked Soto 74 times, good for 16th-most in the majors (Bryce Harper, who leads with 118 walks, has 639 plate appearances).
4. Multi-steal games
Youngest players in @MLB history with 3 steals in a game:— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 15, 2018
Juan Soto - 19 years 325 days
Rickey Henderson - 20 years 241 days pic.twitter.com/uz41KnFTrd
Though scouts mention Soto’s vast array of tools, speed typically doesn’t factor into the equation. But on Saturday, the Braves ignored his speed, and Soto forced them to pay, stealing three bags. Wilmer Difo put it best:
What kind of player could Juan Soto become if he steals bases like that?— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) September 15, 2018
Difo, after a long pause:
5. Multi-walk games
This was Juan Soto's 15th career multi-walk game.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 15, 2018
The previous @MLB record for a teenager was Mel Ott with 11. pic.twitter.com/kDZX4aZJDh
As mentioned earlier: Soto has a pretty good command of the zone.
6. Very good defense
*adds "reach into stands to make incredible leaping catch" to list of Juan Soto things* pic.twitter.com/0tVxtkSLM5— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 11, 2018
No, Soto doesn’t have the same defensive prowess as Ronald Acuña (he more than makes up for it in other ways), but he can make a pretty good catch if forced to.
6. Unbearable swag on Instagram stories
Soto is a millennial. When he’s not off ruining the housing market with avocados or killing a new industry each day, he overshares on social media. Instagram seems to be his medium of choice (his bio reads “NO FACEBOOK”), and he often uses the stories feature to engage with his followers (or talk to Ronald Acuña about potentially being brothers in-law in his comment section).
7. A friendship with he who shall not be named
Game recognize game. pic.twitter.com/m4EcR5dBUb— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) September 15, 2018
Soto on Acuna last night: "He's really impressive in what he does. I just watch him and have fun with that. I just tell him keep it up and never give up. Everything he does is fun." https://t.co/j7kWCJxqgL— Jamal Collier (@JamalCollier) September 15, 2018
the side-by-side of this and them hanging out at the 2035 All-Star Game is going to be glorious https://t.co/qpvf33fqud— Cespedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) September 15, 2018
Soto and Acuña, ultimately, are the future of baseball together. Though Soto is Dominican and Acuña is Venezuelan, the two will likely serve as role models for kids across the United States and Latin America. They’re both young and obscenely fun to watch — pitting them against each other feels redundant outside of this Rookie of the Year fight, and the two have every reason to be friends.