The Nationals have placed star slugger Juan Soto on the 10-day injured list with a strained left shoulder, the team announced. They recalled outfielder Yadiel Hernandez to take Soto’s place on the roster.
The loss of Soto is yet another early season blow for the Nationals, who own a 5-9 record and the majors’ third-worst run differential (minus-22). Of course, their struggles haven’t been Soto’s fault. While the 22-year-old phenom’s .300/.410/.460 line across 61 plate appearances pales in comparison to his 2018-20 production, that only goes to show how great he has been since breaking into the majors. After all, Soto has still been 31 percent better than the league-average hitter this year, according to FanGraphs’ wRC+ metric.
Tuesday’s game against St. Louis will be the first time this season that the Nationals will start someone other than Soto in right field. The role will go to Andrew Stevenson, who has hit .263/.341/.390 in 264 major league PA since he debuted in 2017. The addition of Hernandez gives the Nats another corner outfield option, though the 33-year-old is a completely unproven commodity in the majors.