WASHINGTON -- Juan Soto’s standup double in the eighth inning of the Nationals’ 12-6 win over the Blue Jays on Tuesday didn’t just jump start a key four-run frame that snapped Washington's seven-game losing streak.
It also set a personal record and tied a team mark.
“As soon as it came off the bat, we knew it was hit really hard,” manager Dave Martinez said Wednesday.
Soto walloped the line drive to right-center field off southpaw Taylor Saucedo with a Statcast-projected 116.6 mph exit velocity. That was good for the hardest-hit batted ball in his four-year career -- notable for someone who already has won the National League batting title during that time.
Additionally, Soto’s double tied Kyle Schwarber’s mark set on May 8, 2021, for the hardest-hit extra base hit in Nationals team history since Statcast began tracking in 2015. Check out the Nats’ top five list:
1 (tie). Soto double: 116.6 mph, Aug. 17, 2021 vs. Blue Jays
1 (tie). Schwarber double: 116.6 mph, May 8, 2021 at Yankees
3. Bryce Harper home run: 116.3 mph, June 15, 2017 at Mets
4. Harper double: 116.0 mph, May 12, 2015 at D-backs
5. Schwarber home run: 115.4 mph, April 30, 2021 vs. Marlins
“The fact that he stayed in right-center field is, once again, a testament of how good he is in the middle of the field,” Martinez said. “He doesn’t try to do a whole lot. Every day I talk to him, he wants to hit four line drives up the middle as hard as he can -- and he stays with that.”
Adon dazzles in shutout
Joan Adon, the Nationals’ No. 23 prospect per MLB Pipeline, threw the first shutout of his career on Tuesday at High-A Wilmington. The 23-year-old right-hander struck out six and allowed four hits without issuing a walk over 97 pitches in the Blue Rocks’ 4-0 victory against the IronBirds. Adon’s previous career-high was six innings pitched.
Spring Training schedule unveiled
Mark your calendars six months ahead: Major League Baseball announced the 2022 Spring Training schedule on Wednesday.
The Nationals are slated to open Grapefruit League action on Feb. 26 against the Tigers at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Fla. Their first home game in West Palm Beach will be played the following day as a split squad match against the Marlins at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
After also facing action against the Astros, Yankees and Cardinals, the Nats will conclude Spring Training action on March 27 with split squad games versus the Marlins (home) and Mets (away).