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Life after Harper? Juan Soto can be what Bryce was … and more

Last May, Soto exploded onto the scene as a 19-year-old outfielder with the Washington Nationals. Due to injuries in D.C., he was rushed to the majors after just eight games above Class A. Over the next four and a half months, he wrecked big league pitching and developed a habit of doing things few, if any, teenagers before him had accomplished. But that was then, and this is now.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

Following a freshman campaign that, were it not for Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr., would have made him the runaway Rookie of the Year, Soto isn’t sneaking up on anyone. What’s more, now that a certain superstar and his big bat have moved just up the road to Philly, Soto is being counted on to do even more. Suddenly, he’s the face of the outfield — and the heart of the lineup — on a Nationals team trying to conquer a stacked NL East and prove that there is, in fact, life after Bryce Harper.

“I don’t feel any pressure,” the 20-year-old said while standing in front of his spring training locker at the Nats complex.1

A year ago, Soto wasn’t in big league camp. He was the No. 2 prospect in the Nats organization, and the most recent work experience on his résumé was 23 games in Class A to finish the 2017 season. But he mashed to open 2018 and, after veteran Howie Kendrick suffered an Achilles injury in mid-May, he was called up directly from Double-A. Nine months later, he was cordially invited to West Palm for his first spring training. Waiting there for him was a locker with a name plate — and, of course, expectations.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“If you play well, people expect good things out of you,” said Nationals shortstop Trea Turner, who hit .342 as a rookie in 2016, when he finished second in the ROY balloting. “That’s what you want. Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, all these unbelievable players are expected to be that good, each and every year. He’s in that category of expecting great things from him.”

If you’re scoring at home, yes, Turner just compared his young teammate — who cracked the top 50 in ESPN’s MLB Rank after just one season, finishing 35th, ahead of established stars such as George Springer and Anthony Rizzo — to two of the game’s best players. He isn’t the only one who has mentioned Soto’s name in proximity to the Millville Meteor.

“I played with another guy that was just like that, and his name was Mike Trout,” said Kendrick, who spent four years playing alongside Trout on the Angels. “I see a lot of those same similarities in Juan coming in every day, playing the game, plays it at a high level. Not quite as speedy as Mike Trout, but he does a lot of similar things that Mike does. Hopefully [he’ll] continue his success into the season and show us what type of player he’s really going to continue to be.”