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The defending World Series champion Washington Nationals had a disappointing 2020 season. But Juan Soto, their franchise player, had a historic year. Soto authored a .351/.490/.695 batting line with 13 home runs in 48 games this season and became the youngest player ever to win the National League batting title.

"For me, it doesn't matter the age," Soto told reporters, including the Associated Press, following Sunday's series finale (WAS 15, NYM 5). "If you deserve it, you deserve it."  

Soto, 21, edged out Pete Reiser to become the youngest NL batting champ. Reiser hit .343 as a 22-year-old with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1941. Soto is the first National ever to win the batting title and the third in franchise history, joining Al Oliver (.331 in 1982) and Tim Raines (.334 in 1986). Oliver and Raines did it during the Expos years.

Here is the final 2020 NL batting average leaderboard (186 plate appearances needed to qualify):

  1. Juan Soto, Nationals: .351
  2. Freddie Freeman, Braves: .341
  3. Marcell Ozuna, Braves: .338
  4. Trea Turner, Nationals: .335
  5. Donovan Solano, Giants: .326

Of course, Soto's batting title this year occurred in an unusual 60-game season as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, so it's difficult to consider it on par with a 162-game batting title. That said, you can only play the schedule you're given, and every team played the same number of games. This is baseball in 2020.

Over in the American League, Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieu won the batting title with a .364 average. He is the first player in modern baseball history to win a batting title in each league. LeMahieu previously won the NL batting title with the Rockies.