MLB Network handed out plaudits that include a couple of Nationals that are likely to be manning the outfield at Nats Park this season.
In a recent segment called “Right Now!” MLB Network ranked Juan Soto as the sixth-rated left fielder in the their Top 10.
MLB Network analyst and 11-year big league veteran Eric Byrnes said of Soto: “You could put him No. 1 and I’m not gonna argue, that’s how good of a season he had. When he came up, he was doing things that you don’t see 10-year seasoned vets do. I’m talking about hitting a ball to the opposite field like a right-handed pull hitter.”
Byrnes was impressed with the splash Soto made in his first season with the Nats after he was called up in May. Soto, 20, slashed .292/.406/.923 with 22 homers and 70 RBIs in his debut campaign.
“I was just so incredibly shocked, amazed, whatever you want to call it,” Byrnes said. “I can’t say enough about Juan Soto. We are very fortunate to be able to watch him play in the next couple of years.”
The Nats hope it’s for more than a couple of years.
Top 10 Left Fielders Right Now:
1. J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox
2. Giancarlo Stanton, New York Yankees
3. Ronald Acuña Jr., Atlanta Braves
4. Tommy Pham, Tampa Bay Rays
5. Justin Upton, Los Angeles Angels
6. Juan Soto, Washington Nationals
7. Marcell Ozuna, St. Louis Cardinals
8. Michael Conforto, New York Mets
9. Khris Davis, Oakland Athletics
10. David Peralta, Arizona Diamondbacks
What is amazing to contemplate is pairing Soto with the possibility of Victor Robles, 21, being able to play alongside him for years to come.
If Robles can return to the form the Nats expected him to show after an elbow injury slowed him in 2018, it will be a formidable young duo in the Nats outfield. MLB Network ranked Robles as their No. 4 overall prospect in 2019.
MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospects, 1-10:
1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Toronto Blue Jays
2. Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, San Diego Padres
3. Eloy Jiménez, OF, Chicago White Sox
4. Victor Robles, OF, Washington Nationals
5. Royce Lewis, SS, Minnesota Twins
6. Nick Senzel, 3B, Cincinnati Reds
7. Forrest Whitley, RHP, Houston Astros
8. Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros
9. Alex Kirilloff, OF, Minnesota Twins
10. Brendan Rodgers, INF, Colorado Rockies
MLB Network’s list of the top 100 prospects also had the Nationals’ Carter Kieboom ranked 25th and Luis García ranked 75th. Kieboom, 21, could get a taste with the Nats this season if he continues to play as he has the last two seasons. That could be three players 21 or younger who could have a major impact for the Nats’ potential success this season.