David Shovein

Baseball Daily Dose

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Daily Dose: National Treasure

Saturday, June 30, 2018


National Treasure


The Nationals entered play on Friday losers of each of their last three games, having been outscored 16-3 in those contests. They had slugged an MLB-worst 12 home runs as a team during the month of June. This from a team that was supposed to possess one of the most dynamic offenses in all of baseball.


They seemed to take some of their frustration out on the Phillies on Friday.


The Nationals blasted seven home runs on Friday as they dismantled the Phillies 17-7. Trea Turner got the party started with a two-run blast, just two batters into the ballgame. Anthony Rendon, Bryce Harper, Brian Goodwin and Mark Reynolds also left the yard for the Nationals in the contest. There was one specific young National who stole the show though.


Rookie outfielder Juan Soto crushed an opposite-field two run shot off of Phillies’ starter Nick Pivetta in the first inning, increasing the Nationals’ early advantage to 4-0. He would go on to add a monstrous three-run blast off of Hector Neris in the ninth inning, pouring salt into the wound at that point.


"It feels pretty good," Soto told reporters after the game. "Now, we're back. We come back, I hope we keep doing the same thing. We'll come tomorrow with the same plan and keep doing very good like today."


Aside from the pair of home runs, Soto also singled twice in the ballgame, finishing the night 4-for-6 with three runs scored and five RBI. That’s relevant because it makes him the only teenager in MLB history to have four hits and two home runs in the same ballgame. That’s rarefied air.


He also became the first player in Nationals (and Expos) franchise history to have two multi-homer games within his first 35 career games. If that wasn’t enough though, he became just the fourth player in MLB history to have two multi-homer games as a teenager. The other three players who accomplished that impressive feat? Bryce Harper, Ken Griffey Jr. and Mel Ott. That’s some extremely impressive company.


What Soto is doing at the age of 19 may be unparalleled. He’s slashing a monstrous .336/.446/.621 with eight homers, 25 runs scored, 21 RBI and a stolen base in his first 139 plate appearances at the big league level. He has also shown impressive command of the strike zone, posting a 26/23 K/BB ratio.


Keep in mind, entering the 2018 season Soto had played just 83 games in his entire minor league career, none of them above Class-A Hagerstown. He earned his call-up to the Nationals in May after pummeling the baseball for 39 games in the minor leagues this season across three minor league levels. The last stop of those three was for just eight games at Double-A Harrisburg.


It would have been an unbelievable accomplishment for Soto to step into a full-time role with the Nationals and perform as even a league-average hitter given his limited minor league experience. The fact that he’s performing as the best hitter in a loaded Nationals’ lineup is absurd.


Fantasy owners that were fortunate enough to get in on the ground floor here are going to be reaping the rewards seemingly until the end of time, as Soto looks to have a long and storied career ahead of him..


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Have a Night, Keon!


Brewers’ outfielder Keon Broxton has always been long on potential, but short on consistency. He has shown flashes of his dynamic tools over the years, but has always had far too much swing and miss in his game have consistent success against big league pitching.


He got his first real chance to play everyday in the big leagues during the 2017 season. While his batting average was a bit of a drain, slashing .220/.299/.420, fantasy owners were thrilled with the power and speed production that he provided. Broxton clubbed 20 home runs and swiped 21 bases in his 463 plate appearances. As I alluded to though, the strikeouts were his downfall, posting a horrifying 175/40 K/BB ratio. That’s a strikeout % of 37.8%. Yikes.


So it wasn’t a complete surprise when Broxton didn’t break camp with the Brewers out of spring training this season. The club had a glutton of talent in the outfield after acquiring Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich, and didn’t even have a starting spot available for Domingo Santana who had smashed 30 home runs for the Brewers in 2017.


So Broxton went to Triple-A Colorado Springs, and that’s where he would remain until finally earning a call-up this week when Lorenzo Cain went on the disabled list. In his 72 games at Triple-A, he proved to be the same style of player that he was with the Brewers during the 2017 campaign, slashing .263/.336/.431 with nine homers, 24 stolen bases (in 28 attempts) and a 105/28 K/BB ratio.


Given the success that Jesus Aguilar and Eric Thames are both having with the Brewers this season, and the fact that Cain, Yelich and Ryan Braun remain on the roster, there’s no clear path to playing time for Broxton once everyone is back and healthy.


That didn’t stop him from stating his case on Friday though. The 28-year-old outfielder had tremendous day in all facets of the game as the Brewers hammered the Reds. Broxton opened the scoring in the game with an RBI single in the second inning. He then added onto that advantage with a solo shot off of Sal Romano on the first pitch of the fourth inning.


After grounding into a fielder’s choice in his third at-bat, Broxton walked in the eighth inning. He then advanced to second on a fielder’s choice, swiped third and came around to score in an impressive rundown.


He came to the plate again the following inning, tagging Jackson Stephens for a two-run homer to cap off the Brewers’ scoring in the ballgame. Then to put the cherry on the sundae of his brilliant game, Broxton laid out to make a spectacular diving catch in right-center field to take an extra-base hit and a pair of RBI away from Scooter Gennett.


All told, Broxton finished the day 3-for-4 plus a walk with three runs scored and four RBI. He’s still likely ticketed for a trip back to Triple-A once Cain returns from the disabled list, but as long as he’s in the lineup he’s worthy of consideration from a fantasy perspective given his upside in both the power and speed departments.





American League Quick Hits: Sean McAdam of the Boston Sports Journal reported that the Red Sox have been letting other teams know that Blake Swihart is “very much available” via trade… The Astros placed Carlos Correa on the 10-day DL with back spasms… Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported that the Mariners have had dialogue with the Rangers about a potential deal for Cole Hamels…Red Sox’ first round pick Triston Casas underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn UCL in his right thumb… Chris Archer (abdomen) will begin a minor league rehab assignment next week… Aaron Sanchez has yet to resume his throwing program due to continued soreness in his right index finger… Shohei Ohtani (elbow) took batting practice on the field Friday for the second straight day… Blue Jays’ general manager Ross Atkins said that Roberto Osuna will be the Blue Jays’ closer upon his return from suspension on August 5… Yolmer Sanchez sat out Friday’s game with a bruised left quad… Miguel Gonzalez was pulled back from his rehab assignment due to renewed discomfort in his pitching shoulder… Matt Chapman (hand) is expected to take batting practice on Saturday or Sunday and could be cleared to rejoin the A’s as early as Tuesday if all goes well… Wilmer Font left Friday’s outing with a right lat strain and is expected to land on the disabled list… Joe Mauer homered and drove in five runs in a loss to the Cubs… Marcus Stroman fired seven innings of two-run ball in a victory over the Tigers… CC Sabathia gave up just one run over seven terrific innings in a win against the Red Sox… Greg Bird homered twice to pace the Bombers’ offense in that one… Felix Pena earned his first career victory with 5 ⅓ innings of shutout baseball against the Orioles… Jed Lowrie clubbed his 14th home run as the Athletics beat the Indians… Marco Gonzales pitched the first complete game of his big league career, and came within one out of his first career shutout, in a victory over the Royals… Joey Gallo (19), Nomar Mazara (15), Shin Soo Choo (15), Robinson Chirinos (11) and Rougned Odor (4) all left the yard in a lopsided win over the White Sox… Paul Blackburn struck out five over 6 ⅓ scoreless innings in a win over the Indians… Blake Treinen locked down his 17th straight save in that one.



National League Quick Hits: The Cardinals and Phillies have each expressed interest in acquiring Mike Moustakas from the Royals… James Wagner of the New York Times reported that Zack Wheeler has drawn trade inquiries from several teams…  Paul DeJong (hand) began his minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Memphis… Christian Yelich sat out Friday’s game due to back tightness… Ryan Braun was forced to leave Friday’s game with back tightness of his own… A.J. Pollock (thumb) began his minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Reno on Friday… Yoenis Cespedes (hip, quad) has still yet to be cleared for baseball activities… Caleb Smith will undergo season-ending surgery on his left lat on July 9… Walker Buehler was optioned to High-A Rancho Cucamonga where he’ll get stretched out before rejoining the Dodgers’ rotation… Yu Darvish was diagnosed with a right elbow impingement. He received a cortisone shot and will be re-evaluated in 3-5 days… Tyler Flowers was lifted from Friday’s game with a right hamstring cramp. He’s considered day-to-day… Addison Russell belted a go-ahead grand slam to lead the Cubs past the Twins… Scott Kingery went 3-for-4 with a double and a homer in a loss to the Nationals… Trea Turner homered, stole a base and scored four runs as the Nationals routed the Phillies… Will Smith struck out two in a perfect ninth inning to earn a save against the Diamondbacks. He could be a worth a flier in what has been an unsettled Giants’ bullpen in the wake of the Hunter Strickland injury… Austin Slater went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI as the Giants topped the Diamondbacks… Nolan Arenado blasted his ninth homer in the month of June, and 20th on the season, as the Rockies topped the Dodgers. He’s tied with Bryce Harper for the National League lead in long balls… Rich Hill racked up 10 strikeouts over 6 ⅓ innings of one-run ball in a tough-luck loss to the Rockies… Tyler Anderson struck out eight over eight shutout innings in the win there… Sandy Alcantara picked up his first MLB victory, allowing one run over five innings against the Mets… Joe Musgrove fired seven shutout innings in a win over the Padres… Julio Teheran hurled six scoreless frames in a victory against the Cardinals.




Dave Shovein is a baseball writer for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveShovein.
Email :David Shovein



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