Juan Soto among finalists for 2020 NL Outstanding Player Award originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Nationals leftfielder Juan Soto was named a finalist for the Major League Baseball Players Association’s 2020 Players Choice NL Outstanding Player Award, joining Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman and Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts as the top three candidates for the peer-voted honor.
Soto’s 2020 campaign saw him claim the NL batting title (.351 average) while pacing the majors in on-base percentage (.490), slugging percentage (.695) and OPS (1.185).
The 21-year-old played in only 47 games; he missed the Nationals’ first eight contest after testing positive for COVID-19 and sat out another five with a sore elbow in September. However, Soto still managed to hit 13 home runs and draw 41 walks, making him one of only three players to do so in the shortened 2020 season.
If Soto emerges as the winner, he will be the Nationals’ second-straight player to take the honor after now-Los Angeles Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon won it in 2019. Soto is in the running for NL Outstanding Player but he was not named a finalist for the Player of the Year award. That will come down to Freeman, Chicago White Sox first baseman José Abreu and Cleveland Indians pitcher Shane Bieber.
The Players Choice Awards have been handed out by the MLBPA since 1992, honoring the best hitters, pitchers, rookies and comeback stories as well as the player with the biggest community impact through their charity work off the field. Winners will be announced by the MLBPA on Oct. 22.