Going into Sunday’s series finale with the Atlanta Braves, Juan Soto ranked first among NL outfielders in walks (71) and on-base percentage (.395 OBP), and he was ranked second in wOBA (.381) and wRC+ (145), and third in OPS (.869), and he was tied for third in HRs (17).
Soto, 23, took a 12-game hit streak into the third of three in Truist Park, going 17 for 41 for a .415/.564/.732 line with four doubles, three home runs, 14 walks, and eight strikeouts in his 55 plate appearances in that stretch, and he had a 19-game on-base streak (.333/.500/.614 in 76 PAs) going as well, both of which he extended with a shift-beating opposite field hit in his first trip to the plate.
He finished the game, a 4-3 loss in extra innings, 1 for 3 with two walks, snapping a streak of four-straight, multi-hit games.
Soto was named an All-Star after the game on Sunday afternoon, selected as a reserve for the NL club by Major League Baseball.
He’ll be joined in Dodger Stadium by his manager, Davey Martinez, who was added to the NL coaching staff by 2021 World Series winner Brian Snitker of the Atlanta Braves. Snitker added Martinez to acknowledge the Nationals’ skipper didn’t get to manage a game after Washington’s 2019 World Series win, with no All-Star Game that summer in ‘20’s 60-game COVID campaign due to the delayed start caused by the pandemic.
"You're a World Series champion and you never had a chance to celebrate it."— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) July 8, 2022
Here's why Brian Snitker invited Davey Martinez to join his All-Star coaching staff.@Braves @Nationals pic.twitter.com/ufoyT3rJof
“I talked to Brian [Snitker],” Martinez explained after he was announced as a coach for the NL last month. “We go way back. He’s a good man. I’m honored to be a part of his staff.”
“I’m excited about it, it will be a lot of fun,” he added, “get to see some familiar faces and hang out with some coaches that I know.”
Martinez joked at the time about lobbying for his players to make the team, and offered his own thoughts on which of his guys were worthy.
“Josh [Bell] is having an amazing year,” Martinez said in late June.
“Juan [Soto] is Juan. Everybody says he’s struggling a little bit, but I look up and his OPS is over .800. [.871 after last night’s game.] So, he’s going to be just fine. But both those guys are well-deserved on being an All-Star. In my mind they are [All-Stars], they show up every day, play hard every day, and they lead our team in different things, but hopefully they’ll see it as that, and get picked, and our fans go out there and vote for those two.”
Juan Soto on second All-Star selection: "All the work I put in, it's a thing I've dreamed of since I was a little kid. It makes me really proud ... I'm really thankful for the fans because without them, I wouldn't be up here."— Jessica Camerato (@JessicaCamerato) July 10, 2022
Bell went 0 for 4 with walk in Sunday’s game, and he has a .304/.386/.491 line on the year in 87 games, with 19 doubles and 12 home runs. He can’t be too far down on the list of players to be added if/when others end up not going to Los Angeles.
If the Nationals were going to have one player, should it have been Bell? Is Soto deserving of a second consecutive appearance in the Midsummer Classic? Will Soto enter the 2022 HR Derby? The 2021 Derby helped him find his swing, remember? [ed. note - “In Soto’s own words, ‘... it really helped me a little bit just get me that feeling how to put the ball in the air and everything.’”]
Soto said he was excited to go to the All-Star Game and have his manager along with him.
“It means a lot not only for me, but for the organization,” Soto said, as quoted by MASN’s Bobby Blanco.
“To represent the Washington Nationals out there and knowing that Davey is coming with me is gonna be great. We’ll see how fun it’s gonna be and how excited we will be.”
I can sort of see where some are coming from on that. But I also think the discussion is blurred by Juan Soto playing below extremely high expectations. They finished today only six points apart in OPS (Josh Bell ahead .877 to .871), Soto has more homers, Bell ahead in RBI, etc.— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) July 10, 2022
This is the first time that the Nationals haven’t had multiple All-Stars since 2011 when Tyler Clippard was the lone representative.— Andrew Golden (@andrewcgolden) July 10, 2022
Josh Bell definitely had a case to join Soto though.
Juan Soto was selected by MLB. So was CJ Cron. With no other Rockies really in the running, that probably cost Josh Bell, because that made four NL first basemen on the team (including special selection Albert Pujols).— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) July 10, 2022