Washington Nationals stud outfielder Juan Soto broke out in a big way in 2019. The question boils down to whether that type of production is his peak, or if he can continue to build on that momentum.
Leading into 2020, you’d love to have Soto’s upside and direction on your fantasy squad. Looking ahead, a .320 batting average with 100/30/100 stats is certainly feasible.
In 2019, he beat most every projection except batting average (.282) while adding more steals (12) than expected. His walk rate (16.4) and strikeout rate (20.0) just about matched his rookie season. His plate discipline is above-average and it shows when you watch games that he really enjoys dueling versus pitchers during his at-bats.
Soto had a regression in his CTBA (.373) with growth in his AVH (1.941) and RBI rate (17). His RBI success (110) was aided by a likely unreplicatable yet elite level of chances (473). He had a very formidable April (16 runs, 6 HRs, 22 RBI, and 3 SBs over 105 at-bats) excluding his batting average (.248).
After missing time in May with a back problem, Soto had a spike in batting average (.329) over his next 161 at-bats with a relatively quiet power performance (8 HRs and 30 RBI). After the All-Star break, he hit .263 with 19 home runs, 64 RBI, and 6 stolen bases over 255 at-bats while also nearly drawing the same number of walks (57) as strikeouts (59). His hard-hit rate (47.8) finished 27th in baseball with significant improvement in his fly-ball rate (37.2 – 28.8 in 2018). Soto has had a high HR/FB rate (22.2) over the past two seasons.
Complete beast with triple crown upside in his career. His 2019 SIscore (5.92) ranked 15th among batters.
This season Soto has an ADP of 12. I expect a drop in runs and RBI due to the strength (or lack thereof) in the batting order behind him. That should be a given due to the loss of Anthony Rendon. With that in mind, his approach at the plate lends itself to an improvement in batting average with a chance for over 40 home runs.
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