One of the most impressive young bats in the game right now is Juan Soto. At just 21 years old, what he is doing is unlike most we have seen in baseball history. Now transferring that over to our fake game, Soto is one of the top outfielders. He doesn’t have the same stolen base upside as the names going ahead of him, but coming off the 2019 season he had with room for a few more homers and a better average, Soto is going to be a great value. The Washington Nationals are a strong team, even with the departure of Anthony Rendon. Soto will be hitting cleanup behind some strong names, and that helps his RBI potential. You should be happy starting your fantasy teams off with Soto late in the first round.
Last Two Years Stats
It is hard to compare what Juan Soto has done over the past two seasons, because Juan Soto played 116 games in his rookie season, and then broke out to play 150 in 2019. Looking to the advanced stats, he ranks 5th in wRC+, ahead of Cody Bellinger, George Springer, and Ronald Acuna. He is one of four outfielders with over a .400 OBP, and he ranks 7th in SLG. Soto also has a higher ISO than Ronald Acuna as well. Despite playing lesser games, Soto ranks 12th among outfielders in runs during this span, 8th in RBI, and 14th in home runs. The sky is the limit for this kid, and I am excited to see the numbers he can continue to bring. Soto is among elite company for what he has done so far. To see that he is not far off from the names going 7-8 picks ahead of him, just shows that we are also in a great time for young talent.
2020 Fantasy Projections
Watching Juan Soto lash a beautiful oppo homer this afternoon is as good a reason as any to gaze in wonder yet again at his career XBH spray chart. pic.twitter.com/g3RJlP7H6D
— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) February 25, 2020
As mentioned below, Soto has a chance to hit for a much higher average, and projections show that tick up this season. The home run projections are modest, but everything else is right on track for what he did last season. There is certainly room for him to grow in power from what is shown here, and I do believe he will do that. Soto has excellent projections set for him this year, and this is likely going to be an average line for him moving forward in his career. Not many names this young can be projected like this.
Everything Soto does at the plate that doesn’t count for fantasy is why he is such a great fantasy player. His incredible discipline and ability to take great pitches is remarkable at his age. He should even be hitting at a higher average than he is, which is at .287 over the first two seasons of his career. A .285 season with 30 home runs and a 90/90 season in the run/RBI department is where I would pin him as a floor. However, I see him crossing those numbers easily as long as he is healthy.
At 21 years old, Juan Soto might still have another level he can go, but boy is it tough to see him topping numbers like last year. He had a .401 OBO, 110 runs and 110 RBI, also hitting 34 home runs. Soto also had 12 stolen bases as well. He isn’t a big stolen base threat, but if he does start running more, then that adds more to his fantasy value. Soto is a big time bat, and does not sacrifice OBP for power. It is a combination. A 40 home run season, and hitting cleanup could mean even more RBI potential. That is his range of outcomes. the ceiling is just slightly higher than his 2019 numbers, which were already terrific.
Juan Soto is a top tier fantasy outfielder, yet it is also a loaded position. With names like Trout, Acuna, and Yelich going within the first three-four picks, Soto could actually be looked at as somewhat of a bargain. The only difference between Soto and these names is that the stolen base numbers won’t be there, and that is why there is a slight drop off in ADP. I would be extremely happy to start my fantasy lineups with Soto, especially with the quick turnaround in snake drafts. Soto also sees a decent drop off in auction value too, so there is some value for one of the league’s best hitters.
Washington Nationals Offense
Washington’s offense will certainly hurt some losing Anthony Rendon to the Angels. However, they still have Trea Turner, and young bats like Victor Robles as well. The Nationals averaged 5.3 runs per game last season, and that was a big tick up from 4.7 in 2018. Nationals Park is an underrated hitters park, which ranked second in runs in 2019, and 5th in home runs. For left-handed power it was slightly above average for power, and third in runs and extra base hits. Hitting fourth in this order will put him in a big spot to have plenty of RBI.
To see such a professional hitter at this age is insane. Juan Soto was one of the top bats in 2019, and will be for a long time. He ranked in the 89th percentile in exit velocity, and 92nd in hard-contact rate. Soto ranked in the 97th percentile in xwOBA and 95th percentile in xSLG. He was in the top 5% of xSLG last season, and has been in the top 5% in wOBA over the past two seasons. Soto has a career 16% walk rate and 45% hard-contact rate. Just unreal numbers for someone his age.
Soto bade a strong stride to improve his fly ball rate, which jumped 7% from 2018 to 2019. His line drive rate was also at 27%. Soto ranked 28th in the league in average exit velocity, and 23rd in barrels. With a career .937 OPS, everything backs up what Soto has done so far.
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