After a heroic performance in the playoffs, Juan Soto is on track to become baseball’s new superstar.
At just 21 years old, Juan Soto already has a heroic World Series performance under his belt. He plays like he is a seasoned veteran, showcasing patience that is not seen in young players. He combines this with a strong personality and confidence. This makes him one of the most entertaining players to watch in the entire MLB.
Soto was not drafted by the Nationals, he was signed by Washington as an international free agent. Because of his relatively quiet entrance into the MLB, his journey to superstardom was very fast. He went from obscurity to superstardom in just a year.
Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez is very happy with Soto’s performance saying, ‘You look at a 21-year-old kid that’s just out there having fun like he’s playing stickball in the backyard. That’s who he is. He loves the moments. He loves going up there and picking up his teammates’.
The Nationals vice president of international scouting Johnny DiPuglia has been asked many times how he found the youngster. He once scouted him in an international tournament in Florida back when Soto was just only 15.
Because of what he saw in that tournament, Soto has been in his (DiPuglia) radar ever since. He made the drive from his home in Miami to Fort Lauderdale just to watch Soto’s skillset. DiPuglia said, ‘We don’t complicate ourselves with all this analytic stuff that’s out now. We go out in the field, we beat the bushes and we watch the games’.
He then said that he and Washington’s field coordinator Tommy Shields were the only ones who saw Soto’s staggering potential back then. ‘Tommy Shields is a guy that I talk to quite a bit. He loved the kid. He kept telling me “this kid is gonna be special.” I had an inkling that he was, but you keep hearing it from people’.
The Nationals are in good form with scouting international prospects right now. With 21-year-old Soto killing it as a powerful hitter and 22-year-old Victor Robles has become one of the best defensive outfielders in the game today. This is amazing when the Nationals’ issues with international scouting are taken into account.
Soto’s development was very fast as a young player, becoming one of the best hitters in the league in just two seasons. DiPuglia talked about Soto’s quick acclimation into the league saying, ‘I kept seeing the maturation process speed up. This kid was just unbelievable at the plate. He’s a different animal. I always say he’s your dog that plays checkers. How many dogs do you see that play checkers? He’s that kind of player’.