The Childish Bambino isn’t one to be forgotten.
While the Nationals’ 20-year-old outfield star Juan Soto can’t drink yet, as his birthday is in October, he’s leaving his mark all over the league.
As of Sept. 17, Soto is batting .294, good for 28th place in the MLB. He is also in a nine-way tie for 20th place with 34 home runs this season and sits 12th place with 105 RBI. And this is all with three weeks left to play.
These season stats aren’t going to win him any post-season awards, but some of his career stats are in line with some of baseball’s best. However, Soto is still underrated throughout the league. He was not an All-Star this season and lost NL Rookie of the Year to Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr.
Soto is often seen as the successor to Bryce Harper in the Nats outfield, but at age 20, Soto is actually better. As of August 5, Soto walked 16 percent of the time, during his career as opposed to Harper and Angels outfielder Mike Trout who were walking about 10 percent of the time, at the same age. Soto is known to be a tough out and has a good eye, and with 93 walks as of Sept. 16, he ranks No. 9 in the entire MLB.
Harper and Trout, along with Cleveland Indians outfielder Yasiel Puig, are considered Soto’s contemporaries. But Soto is also on par with some of today’s baseball greats. Through his first 162 games, Soto ranks third in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage among active players. In that time, Soto posted a .290 batting average, a .400 on-base percentage and an even .500 slugging percentage. He’s behind only Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals and Puig among active MLB players who achieved this feat in their first 162 games.
The Childish Bambino is also the first player in 80 years to score 100 runs, drive in 100 runs, and walk 100 times — which he accomplished in 162 games and before turning 22. The other player? Ted Williams. Yes, Juan Soto and Ted Williams can be compared in the same sentence.
Soto achieved this feat in early May, and since then has brought his career totals to 179 runs, 175 RBI, and 172 walks. At this rate, he could easily eclipse 200 in all three categories.
Regardless of where the Nats do or don’t go in the postseason, Soto deserves more recognition across the league for his play this season. He has a 5.0 season WAR, and an 8.0 career war. Soto is also a great clubhouse presence, always dancing around in the dugout. Additionally, Nats fans will get to enjoy him for a team salary-cap-friendly $587,000 this season. He isn’t arbitration eligible until after the 2022 season and won’t be a free agent until 2025 when he is 27, roughly Mike Trout’s current age. Breathe easy, NatsTown. Childish Bambino is ours for a while.