In most games where you have a 3-for-5 night from a player with 2 home runs like Mark Reynolds, we would be writing the accolades about that player, and instead, we have to talk about Juan Soto who got his first MLB hit which was also his first home run on the first pitch he saw in his first start. It was a 3-run home run and the game-winning RBIs.
Try to wrap your head around this and put this into perspective, Juan Soto was in Low-A baseball in Hagerstown, Maryland a month ago. He was in High-A baseball in Woodridge, Virginia a few weeks ago, and in Double-A baseball in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania a few days ago. All of that traveling between the Nats minor league systems and just 39 games, and here he is in the show — doing this! He injected a level of energy into the dugout like we haven’t seen since the Wilmer Difo walk-off 15-days ago.
“He has unbelievable poise,” manager Dave Martinez said. “He is a student of the game…When he hit that ball everybody was jacked up.”
The last player who was 19-years-old to hit a home run before Juan Soto in an MLB game was none other than Bryce Harper in 2012 and Bryce hit that home run 6 years ago this very same week against the San Diego Padres also. His home run was off of righty Tim Stauffer at Nationals Park. Bryce was 19-years-old and 211-days when he hit his first big league home run, and Juan Soto bettered the former MVP by 4-days to set the franchise record.
“He’s a special player,” Bryce Harper said. “We’ve seen that throughout [his] minor leagues, and we saw that in spring training as well. So we’re all just excited for him to be here and excited for him to help us out and super proud of him and just got to keep it going.”
The other Nationals to have home runs for their first hits were Justin Maxwell, Tommy Milone, and Corey Brown. Soto and Milone were the only ones to do it in Nationals Park. None of them were younger than 23-years-old except for Juan Soto.
Also not to be overlooked was the very nice outing by Gio Gonzalez going 7.0 strong innings on 111 pitches of 2-run baseball to pitch the Nationals to this 10-to-2 domination and halt the 3-game losing streak.
Tim Collins made his Nats debut last night and he had not played in the Majors since 2014 and to put that in perspective the last time Collins pitched — Juan Soto was just 14-years-old. Collins pitched a nice 8th inning facing 4 batters and gave up a single to Hosmer.
Did we mention that every Nats starting position player had at least one-hit in the game and 6 Nats had at least 2-hits. Every starting position player boosted their batting average on this day except for Pedro Severino who was a hard luck 1-for-4. In this game, the Nationals were also clutch with RISP hits going 4-for-8 in the game, and two of those clutch hits belonged to Trea Turner and the other two were from Juan Soto and Bryce Harper.
The young players at the Dominican Academy were invited to a “watch” party to view the game in HiDef and live. Watch the reaction:
The Nationals will face another lefty tomorrow while sending the Nats send well-rested righty Jeremy Hellickson to the mound.