NEW YORK — Monday sure was no ordinary day on the job for baseball’s youngest phenoms.
Just hours before putting on the Nationals uniform Monday night, Juan Soto was named the National League Player of the Week after a dominant performance at the plate in his first full week back on the roster. Soto’s invigorating energy stimulated a Nationals lineup that has found themselves near the depths of the National League East.
In the seven games that helped Soto earn the weekly award, he assembled 12 hits, five home runs, 12 RBI, a double and a stolen base. The 21-year-old’s slash line sure is a spectacle: .462/.533/1.077.
Soto recorded his sixth career multi-home run game at Citi Field on August 12, currently joining Andruw Jones and Cody Bellinger for third-most among players younger than 22 years old to have multi-home runs in a ballgame. One of the homers from Wednesday night’s game came off a Steven Matz pitch that was scorched 463-feet into the top deck in right field with an exit velocity of 108.6 mph.
Fernando Tatis Jr. put on a display for the San Diego Padres against the Texas Rangers on Monday. A display that captivated the essence of the young star’s talents. Tatis hit two home runs — including a grand slam — and seven RBI to help lift his team over the Rangers in a 14-4 blowout in Arlington.
“I was locked in, man. I was locked in,” Tatis said after helping the Padres win their 12th game of the season.
— MLB (@MLB) August 18, 2020
Tatis’ grand slam was the topic of discussion across the baseball world well after the last pitch was thrown by Padres pitcher Luis Perdomo. The grand slam was the product of a 3-0 fastball that found itself in the right field seats. Tatis’ decision to cut loose on a 3-0 pitch resulted in criticism from Padres manager Jayce Tingler and the Texas Rangers.
“I was trying to produce for my team,” Tatis said after the game. “That was on me, [I] didn’t look at my third base coach. That was on me. I was just trying to take a good pitch and just put my barrel on it and got the results.”
Tatis is currently leading the league with 11 home runs and 28 RBI, but much of that accomplishment is overshadowed by baseball’s fixation with unwritten rules. As time rolls on, young players are born into a league that is desperate for change. On Monday, Washington Nationals infielder Luis García became the first player born in the year 2000 or later to hit a home run. The game is moving into a different era, whether we like it or not.
Young players like Tatis, Soto and Atlanta Braves phenom Ronald Acuña Jr. have lifted the baseball world into a phase that salutes electrifying emotions and talent. It’s become more prevalent amongst players who — day after day — find themselves inked into the record books and display statistics that align with former players who currently reside within the National Baseball Hall of Famers.
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