WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Nationals, and their fans, have big expectations for young star Juan Soto.
The outfielder is coming off a 2018 season where he won National League rookie of the month three times in the four months he played with the Nationals.
Soto became the first player in Nationals history to win the award three times in the same season.
When asked how he plans to build on last season, his answer was just put in hard work and have fun doing it.
“Just working and grinding,” says Soto. “Keep having fun. That’s how I think. Because I think if you aren’t having fun, you aren’t going to get better. It’s like the name baseball game. You gotta keep grinding, but you gotta have fun too.”
The National League Rookie of the Year runner up also explained how difficult it was for him to learn English as a second language.
“It was a little hard for me because I was a little scared,” says Soto. “When I started learning, I was like ‘I don’t want to talk, I don’t want to talk.’ But when I get my first year in the United States, I gotta talk. So I just started talking and talking. To get food, I gotta talk in English. So I started not being scared.”
One of Soto’s sources of food that forced him to be more active in learning English was McDonalds.
“I don’t like to go out,” says Juan Soto. “So I always told the guys, ‘hey, bring me food. I give you the money, bring me food, please.’ Then I get a McDonalds right in front of the hotel. I say, ‘One time, alright nobody can bring me food. I gotta go out.’ So I go out, go across the street, and I started trying to talk with the people. She understood me right away. And she talk back to me, and I understood too. After that, I just start talking with everybody, and now I know a little bit more than I knew before.”
Soto admits he doesn’t eat McDonalds nearly as much as he used to.
One food he does eat that he probably shouldn’t is fritura.
“It’s like fried meat, all the fried meat in the Dominican,” says the Nationals outfielder.
When asked how he’d like to be remembered when his career is over, he mentioned people like David Ortiz and Derek Jeter as people he aspires to be like.
“My mother always told me about David Ortiz’s career and Derek Jeter’s career,” says Soto. “Those are the people who never had trouble in the field or off the field. She told me, ‘I want you to be like those guys.’ So that’s what I try to be. The people love you in the field, off the field. Don’t get in trouble.”