Split squad simultaneous doubleheader for the #Nats; Juan Soto debut!

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If you follow the Nationals closely, you know about Juan Soto. If you do not, he is one of the top prospects in all of baseball at #29 of all players. I have been fortunate to see him play several times and that photo above looked so advanced for an 18 year old. Today, Nats fans who will be in attendance at the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches will get to see Juan Soto as a 19 year old against the Detroit Tigers. It is possible he faces the Tigers starter, 31 year old Alex Wilson. Besides the obvious 12-year age difference, Wilson has 231 more games of Major League experience than the teenager. Today they could face each other, and Wilson has the advantage of experience — Soto has the advantage of equanimity.  The Dominican teen plays with a calmness. 

“Me siento bien gracias a dios,” Soto said. “Y preparandome para 2018.”

Soto does not have a job on the line like Wilson and other players in today’s game. He is a fill-in because the Nationals need about 50-players today to complete two full game rosters. Soto will replace starter Bryce Harper in this game which is somewhat laced with irony. If Harper leaves the Nats after the 2018 season, Soto could be the man kid who one day could be roaming right field for the Nats.

I texted Juan Soto simply, “Buena suerte hoy” this morning which simply translates to “Good luck today”. He simply responded, “Gracias”.

Juan Soto

Pictured are Juan Soto with his father at Nats Park in 2016 (Photo for TalkNats -Andrew Lang)

There are two Nats games today. Both will overlap starting just after 1pm. Gio Gonzalez will start the “home” game and Edwin Jackson the game in Port St. Lucie. These are called split squad games in Spring Training, Nationals manager Dave Martinez really is splitting up his starters between the two venues.

In the “home” game, Gio Gonzalez will have Matt Wieters as his battery mate with Miguel Montero as his DH. Anthony Rendon is back after 3 days at third base, Matt Reynolds at shortstop, Howie Kendrick at shortstop, and Matt Adams returns from his blister to play first base. The outfield is loaded with speed with Victor Robles in CF, Harper in RF, and Andrew Stevenson LF. The replacement players includes Soto as well as his 2017 teammate Blake Perkins. Other notables from the Minors side are Ian Sagdal, Drew Ward, Carter Kieboom, Jacob Noll, Sterling Sharp and Jackson Reetz.

In the “road” game, Edwin Jackson will have Pedro Severino as his battery mate with Jhonotan Solano backing him up with Spencer Kieboom as the DH. Rafael Bautista, Brian Goodwin, and Michael Taylor will be the starting outfield with Trea Turner, Kelvin Gutierrez, Wilmer Difo and Chris Dominguez. The most interesting replacements are Daniel Johnson and top Nats prospect Luis Garcia. On the bench from the Minors’ side are Tres Barrera, Yasel Antuna and Edwin Lora.

We have radio today with Charlie & Dave for the “home” game, and the Mets radio crew for the “road” game.

Detroit Tigers vs. Washington Nationals
Stadium:  FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, West Palm Beach, Florida
1st Pitch: 1:05 pm EDT
Nats Radio: 106.7 The Fan DC

  1. Howie Kendrick 2B
  2. Anthony Rendon 3B
  3. Bryce Harper RF
  4. Matt Adams 1B
  5. Matt Wieters C
  6. Miguel Montero DH
  7. Victor Robles CF
  8. Andrew Stevenson LF
  9. Matt Reynolds SS

Gio Gonzalez LHP

Washington Nationals vs. New York Mets
Stadium:  First Data Field, Port St. Lucie, Florida
1st Pitch: 1:10 pm EDT
Nats Radio: Mets feed on MLB App

  1. Trea Turner SS
  2. Wilmer Difo 2B
  3. Michael Taylor CF
  4. Brian Goodwin LF
  5. Chris Dominguez 1B
  6. Kelvin Gutierrez 3B
  7. Pedro Severino C
  8. Spencer Kieboom DH
  9. Rafael Bautista RF

Edwin Jackson RHP

Photo from Stan for TalkNats

Photo from Stan for TalkNats

Photo from Stan for TalkNats

Some Tim Tebow

Photo by Stan for TalkNats

Photo by Stan for TalkNats

Trea Turner, Photo by Stan for TalkNats

Juan Soto photo by SteveNY for TalkNats

Daniel Johnson

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