clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Washington Nationals’ Juan Soto turns 21 in October, so there’s time to catch Mel Ott...

New, 16 comments

Juan Soto hit his 34th home run of 2019 and the 56th home run of his career, the second-most ever hit by an MLB hitter before his 21st birthday.

New York Mets v. Washington Nationals Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Juan Soto hit a 3-2 sinker from Kohl Stewart out to left on a line in the top of the sixth inning last night in Minneapolis, Minnesota’s Target Field.

The two-run, opposite field homer off the Twins’ righty was Soto’s 34th home run of the 2019 season, and the 56th of his career, which, as the Nationals noted on Twitter, tied Boston Red Sox’ slugger Tony Conigliaro for the second-most home runs in MLB history by a player before his 21st birthday.

Soto now trails only the New York Giants’ Mel Ott, who hit 61 before turning 21 between 1926-29. Ott hit his in 391 games and 1,416 plate appearances.

Soto’s up to 56 in 250 games and 1,087 PAs, and he has 17 more games this season, before he’ll turn 21 on October 25th.

He’s hit five in his last 12 games, and in his previous 15 he hit five as well, and he hit five in a nine-game span between July 31 and August 10th.

Will he manage to tie Ott before the regular season ends?

He also tied Ty Cobb for the 3rd-most career RBIs (175) before their 21st birthdays, as the Nationals noted last night.

Soto also, the Twins mentioned in their post-game notes, “... scored his 100th run of the season in the fifth inning,” of last night’s 12-6 win, “becoming the 13th player in baseball history (14th instance) to record 100 runs in an age-20 season or younger.”

Soto is, “... the first since Mike Trout scored 129 runs in 2012 at 20 years old,” and he, “scored his 101st [run] in the sixth [inning],” of the series finale with the Twins.

Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez talked earlier this month about the development he’s seen from Soto in their second season together in D.C., not just at the plate, but defensively.

What’s behind Soto’s growth?

“Well, his work ethic,” Martinez said. “I wanted him to understand — and he has understood, that there’s more to this game than just hitting to be a complete ballplayer, and he’s taken it upon himself to do that, his hitting, his baserunning, everything.

“He’s really worked on everything, and he’s becoming that complete ballplayer. At 20 years old, some of the things he’s doing [are] incredible.”