The Washington Nationals have been waiting for Juan Soto all season long. He had been a productive hitter in the lineup, but was not hitting for the power the Nationals were accustomed to. If Washington was to find their way back into the playoff chase, they needed Soto to be that feared slugger once again.
That appears to be happening. Soto has begun to hit for power once again, his swing having been fixed during the Home Run Derby.
Juan Soto getting on track for Washington Nationals
Soto had a respectable first half, posting a .283/.407/445 batting line with 11 homers and nine doubles. However, his homers came in bunches – he had a two home run game on April 10, and hit three homers in a four game stretch from June 1 through June 4. Take out those five games, and Soto had six homers in 74 games for the Nationals.
Despite those somewhat mediocre power numbers, Soto was selected to the Home Run Derby, likely due to his power from the previous three years. He put on a show as he advanced to the second round, later claiming that his time in the contest fixed his swing and that he would be back to form once the second half began.
Even though that was a joking statement, it is proving to be correct. Soto’s power has returned over the first three games since the break, as he has belted three homers and a double in 15 plate appearances. Yes, there is the caveat of this being an extremely small sample size, but it is still the type of production that the Nationals and Soto had been expecting.
If Washington is going to come back in the race for the NL East, they need Soto to be more than an on base machine. They need him to return to his previous form as one of the more feared sluggers in the game. Through the first three games of the second half, he has done just that.
The Washington Nationals need Juan Soto to be the slugger he had been in the past. His time in the Home Run Derby may have allowed him to return to form.