Soto's HR in suspended game won't count as 1st career blast
On May 15, 2018, Juan Soto went 3-for-4 with an RBI in the Double-A Harrisburg Senators' 5-4 loss to the Bowie Baysox. He also hit a home run to lift the Washington Nationals to a 5-3 victory over the visiting New York Yankees.
Yes, you read that correctly. Soto was, at least on paper, playing in two games in two different leagues on the same day.
The Nationals and Yankees resumed their suspended May 15 game in the sixth inning on Monday with the score tied 3-3. Soto was five days away from his debut with Washington when this game began, but is now firmly entrenched in the Nats' outfield, making for an odd moment when he pinch hit for Matt Adams a few batters into the resumed contest.
Things took an even stranger turn when he crushed a 433-foot bomb to right field off Chad Green for his sixth - or was it his first? - career homer.
"First time (I've seen that)," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said after the game when asked about Soto's time-traveling abilities, according to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. "Pretty impressive. I wish I could do that."
So did the 19-year-old really just prove that his sixth tool on the diamond is time travel?
Well, not exactly.
While it will now go into the record books that Soto appeared in the Nationals' May 15 contest, Elias Sports Bureau and MLB ruled that his official big-league debut still occurred on May 20, meaning the blast on Monday was not actually his first major-league homer. Because Monday was the completion of a suspended game, Soto's heroics on "May 15" will, therefore, be listed on his stat line with an asterisk.
Surprisingly, Soto isn't the first to appear in a suspended game that began before an official big-league debut. He's one of 17 players to have accomplished that feat and joins a list of names that includes former MVPs Dave Parker and Barry Bonds.
Soto's first official at-bat in the majors will forever remain his pinch-hit strikeout on May 20. His first hit and home run came the following day when Soto took San Diego's Robbie Erlin deep with a three-run blast.
Soto came into the suspended game sporting a .312/.404/.571 slash line over his first 23 MLB games.