Washington Nationals’ slugger Juan Soto, 22, finished second in the voting for the 2021 NL MVP award last night, receiving six first place votes, 11 second-place votes, seven for third, two fourth, two fifth, one sixth, and one seventh place vote.
Soto ended up behind his former teammate, Bryce Harper, now of the Philadelphia Phillies, who won a second MVP award in his third season in Philly, after winning for the first time in D.C. in 2015.
Soto, who turned 23 in late October, finished the 2021 campaign ranked 1st in in the NL in on-base percentage (.465), 1st in walks (145), 1st in OBP w/ RISP (.577) and AVG w/ RISP (.396), 2nd in AVG (.313), OPS (.999), wOBA (.420), wRC+ (163), and runs scored (111), and he ended up with the third-highest fWAR (6.6) and was 3rd in SLG w/ RISP (.689) amongst all of the qualified National League hitters. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Soto, the Nationals noted in their Season in Review, “was the only qualified player in Major League Baseball with more walks than strikeouts,” and his, “... .465 on-base percentage led Major League Baseball and was the highest in a full season since 2008 ([Hall of Famer] Chipper Jones, .470),” while, “... his 145 walks were the most in a full season since Barry Bonds set the Major League record for walks in a season with 232 in 2004, and the second-most by any player prior to his 23rd birthday behind HOF Ted Williams (147 in 1941).”
“He put together an MVP-caliber season, and is very deserving of all of the accolades that continue to come his way,” GM Mike Rizzo said in a press release on Soto winning a Silver Slugger award earlier this month.
“He’s a pleasure to watch every day and I couldn’t be happier for him.”
“He’s one special, not only baseball player, but a human being, he really is,” manager Davey Martinez said in an interview on the MLB Network’s Hot Stove Show on Thursday. “He’s a joy to be around every day. I played with Barry Bonds, I’ve played with a lot of really good, great hitters, and he’s up there, he really is. The kid pays attention to detail, he’s got a game plan every at-bat, and he doesn’t take any at-bat or any pitch off, he’s on his game every time he steps up to the box, and he’s only going to get better.”
Hi hello. Happy Tuesday!— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) November 16, 2021
Here are the 6 hardest-hit batted balls of Juan Soto's career
116.6 mph 2B
116.5 mph 2B
115.3 mph 1B
114.1 mph HR
113.7 mph 2B
113.7 mph 1B pic.twitter.com/TsF1H2bKlq
Martinez too said he thought the Nationals’ MVP should be in consideration for the National League’s MVP at the end of the regular season.
“For me, Juan should have consideration of being that MVP. He’s had a phenomenal year, he’s chasing a batting title, but what he’s done and what he’s meant to this team, as you know, he carries this team day in and day out, so he means a lot to this club.”
That Soto did some serious damage in the second-half, with the team out of contention a lot earlier than usual, and after the team dealt away a number of players he had grown up with in his first four major league seasons impressed his GM and manager, but as Soto said on the MLB Network last night, he had a simple approach.
“Don’t be selfish,” Soto said. “Just keep playing as a team and keep being a great teammate and the team is going to be on its way. That’s what I tried to do and it went well in my way.”