Houston Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch got an up-close look at Juan Soto during Game 1 of the 2019 World Series, with the Washington Nationals’ 21-year-old outfielder going 3 for 4 at the plate, with a double, a walk, and a home run in the opener of the 115th Fall Classic in Minute Maid Park.
“We haven’t seen him a ton in person,” Hinch told reporters after the Astros’ 5-4 loss.
“A little bit of Spring Training, which doesn’t count. But he was clearly the key guy that we couldn’t control tonight. His bat speed is electric. His energy and his body is as advertised. He’s calm in the moment. Clearly this is not too big a stage for him.”
“He was the difference in the game,” Hinch added.
On the biggest stage in baseball, Soto ended up 9 for 27 (.333/.438/.741) with two doubles, three home runs, five walks, and eight Ks in seven games and 32 plate appearances overall as the Nationals won it all.
In the regular season, in his second big league campaign, Soto put up a .282/.401/.548 line, 32 doubles, 34 home runs, 108 walks, and 132 Ks in 150 games and 659 PAs, finishing at 4.8 fWAR.
As impressive as he’s been at the plate (and increasingly in left field),…