It took some convincing, however the Washington Nationals’ brass had the info to again them up, and with analytics on their facet, supervisor Davey Martinez talked to Juan Soto in regards to the plan to have him hit second within the lineup this season.
“I acquired to promote him on it,” Martinez mentioned, as quoted by the Washington Publish’s Jesse Dougherty final month.
“He likes hitting third. I feel he thinks by getting these two guys on, he has extra possibilities [to drive runners in].”
After they seemed on the numbers although, and confirmed Soto, they led with the apparent incontrovertible fact that he’s prone to get extra at-bats because the No. 2 hitter.
“Final 12 months there have been 14 instances when he was on deck and didn’t get that final at-bat,” Martinez defined, as quoted by the Related Press.
“If he’s going to get a chance to hit once more, you need him to hit.”
And if that didn’t persuade Soto?
“I instructed him seven of the final 10 MVPs did hit second,” Martinez added.
Soto instructed reporters he’s up for it if that’s what the group thinks is greatest.
“I’m going to simply accept the problem and see the way it goes,” Soto instructed the AP. “It’s going to take a bit bit to get used to it, however I feel it’s going to be fantastic.”
All through the spring, Soto hit second with new addition Nelson Cruz hitting third after the veteran signed a 1-year free agent cope with the membership as soon as the 99-day lockout led to mid-March when MLB and the MLBPA lastly agreed on a brand new CBA.
Martinez instructed reporters after the DH signing in D.C. was introduced, that Cruz will assist to bolster the center of the lineup within the nation’s capital, and supply some safety they suppose ought to assist Soto, whereas additionally serving to one other huge bat within the Nats’ lineup.
“You speak about Soto, you speak about Cruz, for me, the man that to me who is admittedly going to learn and assist too, is Josh Bell,” Martinez mentioned.
“I imply, rapidly you place Josh Bell with these two guys, I feel he’s going to get higher. I actually [do].
“[Bell] got here to this Spring Coaching in such good condition and prepared, and he appears to be like nice, so having these three guys in the midst of our lineup, it’s going to be enjoyable to look at.”
And he does suppose Cruz will assist shield Soto to some extent, after Soto was walked pretty repeatedly once more in 2021, main the massive leagues in free passes on the 12 months final season.
“I feel he’s acquired fairly good — not fairly good, actually good — safety,” Martinez mentioned, as quoted by the AP.
“It’s going to be my new problem for this 12 months,” Soto instructed MLB Community host Alanna Rizzo of hitting second this spring. “I simply acquired to get used to it, I by no means hit there earlier than. I attempted a pair instances in years earlier than, it feels form of bizarre, however on the finish of the day I’m going to [take] the problem and see the way it goes.”
Soto’s batting second with Cruz third and Bell within the cleanup spot for the season opener…