Soriano: Early Returns
A trio of good posts has been penned by Federal Baseball, Nats Triple Play, and OMG assessing the status of the Alfonso Soriano trade in light of his good start at the plate and avoidance of disaster in left field. The Feds and NTP are bullish, essentially ready to give Jim Bowden mad props for unloading the whiff machine Brad Wilkerson and change for a real major league hitter. OMG remains wary, figuring that Soriano will retreat somewhat and Wilkerson will advance as time moves on.
I think the cautionary approach from OMG is the right one, but I will say that I've been surprised by how much I enjoy watching Soriano hit, and I think that is the source of the optimism in Nate's and Basil's posts. He is unlike any hitter we've seen on the Nats -- quick hands, unexpected strength from a wiry frame, casual but potent speed on the bases. It seems like he hits the ball harder than any other Nat, even the singles.
This image of him is in direct contrast to the surly malcontent we heard about all winter -- there is an enthusiasm in the way he plays the game that was not evident in the offseason. In left field, a different story, of course. He makes bad judgments on balls and will loaf at times. But I spent a childhood watching Greg Luzinski "play" left field, so I'm not losing sleep over that.
Now that he's ours for this year, let's hope he continues this good work and truly does make us forget Brad Wilkerson.