Juan Soto was named an All-Star for the second consecutive season on Sunday, selected by Major League Baseball to fill out the National League’s roster for the 2022 edition of the Midsummer Classic.
Earlier in the day, the 23-year-old slugger extended a hit streak to 13-straight games, over which he was, “18-for-44 (.409 AVG) with four doubles, three homers, six RBI, 13 walks, and 14 runs scored,” as the club highlighted in their pregame notes for Wednesday afternoon’s doubleheader in D.C., and he also had a 20-game on-base streak going, posting a .506 OBP over the previous 20 games, with 20 hits, and 21 walks in that stretch.
In his previous 15 games (before yesterday’s doubleheader), Soto had a .409/.567/.705 line, which had him up to .243/.398/.473 overall in his fifth season in the majors, and he had a league-leading 73 walks (vs 54 Ks in 367 plate appearances), was fifth in OBP, and in a down year (by his own high standards), he was tied for 6th in the NL in wOBA (.381), was 8th overall in wRC+ (145), and his 14.7 K% on the year was the 8th lowest among qualified hitters. So, not bad. And you should probably watch out in the second half, because he’s heating up again.
Being named an All-Star for the second time meant a lot to the Nationals’ young star.
We post every Juan Soto HR no matter what. pic.twitter.com/Mepkx0U3PK— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 13, 2022
“It means a lot, not only for me, for the organization,” Soto said after he was named to the NL roster on Sunday.
“Representing the Washington Nationals out there, and knowing that Davey [Martinez] is coming with me is going to be great.”
Martinez was named a coach for NL (and 2021 World Series champion Atlanta Braves’) manager Brian Snitker’s club.
“We will see how fun it’s going to be and how excited we will be,” Soto said, but he was already excited the work he’s put in to try to get back on track, and all of his success in what’s been a record-setting first five years, has paid off in another ASG appearance.
“It’s all the work I put in,” Soto said.
“Things that I dreamed with since I was a little kid. So it’s made me real proud about myself and what I’ve done, and I’m really thankful for the fans, because without them I wouldn’t be up here.”
Soto also said it would give him a chance to visit with some old friends and make some new ones.
“I go enjoy it, get to know more people, get to know more guys and make them my friends,” Soto said, as quoted by MASN’s Bobby Blanco. “Even if we fight against each other in the season, it doesn’t mean that we’re going to be bad guys outside the game. So I think I just go and try to enjoy the game as much as I can.”
He said he might just do some recruiting too, with a former teammate who’s starting at short for the Dodgers every day now, and for the NL in LA for the All-Star Game. It’s Trea Turner, we’re talking about Trea Turner, the former Nationals’ shortstop, who was traded during last July 30th’s trade deadline sell-off.
“Yeah, we’re going to have fun with that guy,” Soto said. “That guy is really fun, and I hope that we’re going to have a good time there, and try to convince him to come back. We will see.”
Do you get déjà vu when he's at bat?— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 14, 2022
Juan Soto homers in the 9th for the second time today. pic.twitter.com/RbtLQCcJRB
GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies on Wednesday he was never real worried when Soto started slowly this season, knowing the preternaturally gifted hitter he signed and helped develop would eventually sort things out as he has in recent weeks.
“It’s just a matter of time that he gets his stroke back and hits start falling for him,” Rizzo said.
“And there was never any panic with him with the coaching staff, and he’s starting to feel good about himself and using the entire field, but not a lot to worry about with Juan Soto.”
In the twin bill with the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday, Soto walked the first time up to extend his on-base streak, and went 1 for 2 with three walks overall, homering to get his other streak to the nightcap as well, then with both streaks on the line, in his final plate appearance of the night, he homered again, giving him both a 15-game hit streak and 20-game on-base streak.