The Washington Nationals have gotten off to an awful start in the 2022 MLB season, as they currently own the second-worst record in the league at 13-26. The Nationals have been so poor that executives have started the speculation around their roster and possible trades at the August 2 deadline. One name that has come up in possible trade speculation is superstar outfielder Juan Soto, who is one of the game's most accomplished players at just 23 years old.

ESPN's Buster Olney has reported that the Nationals could be “compelled” to trade Soto during the 2022 MLB season.

The seeds of a trade were planted this offseason when the two sides failed to come to an agreement on a contract extension. The Nationals' poor start to the 2022 season and unappealing farm system are just the icing on the cake. Trading Soto would net the team a package of prospects never before seen in the history of baseball.

However, the club would be insane to deal Soto, who is in on level footing with one of the greatest hitters in the sport's history through his age 22 season. There simply aren't many players in baseball like Soto, who ranks first in Wins Above Replacement from 2019 to 2022.

For all his greatness, there's a sense that we haven't even seen the best version of Soto yet, a scary thought for the rest of the league.

Here's why the Nationals would be insane to trade Soto.

2 Reasons Why Nationals Would Be Insane To Trade Juan Soto

2. Soto is a rare breed of player

The modern-day MLB is filled with sluggers who swing for the fences yet strike out at rates that would make a 1990s hitting coach's eyes pop out of his head. The league-wide batting average has been on a steady decline since the 2009 season, with strikeouts on the rise.

The ‘Moneyball' craze has prioritized slugging percentage and on-base percentage over batting average, which has had its benefits for run production from a team perspective, though it has also made many of the game's hitters one-dimensional.

One-dimensional, Juan Soto is not. In a league riddled with strikeouts, Soto could write a book on plate discipline and controlling the strike zone. The league average strikeout rate in 2021 was 23.2 percent, with the average walk rate registered at 8.7 percent.

Soto checked in with a miniscule 14.2 percent strikeout rate and a 22.2 percent walk rate.

The Nationals star combines that stingy control of the strike zone with an incredibly rare ability to not only make contact with the ball, but to hit the ball out of the yard. How rare? See for yourself.

A stat so crazy, it requires another read. Soto and Ted Williams are the only two players in the modern era with 100-plus homers, 400-plus walks, and 500-plus hits in their first 500 games.

No one is saying that he'll be the next Williams. However, it's undeniable that the 23-year-old is on a Hall of Fame trajectory. The Nationals would be insane to trade away a player of his caliber, no matter the potential return.

1. We may not have seen the best version of Soto yet

For all his light-tower power- Soto ranks sixth in hard-hit rate and second in slugging percentage since 2019- his career high in homers is 34. For all his ability to make contact with the ball, his highest batting average in a full season is .313 in 2021, excluding his robust .351 average during the pandemic-shortened season.

Make no mistake, these are excellent numbers. However, given Soto's natural tools and abilities, there's the potential for so much more.

Part of what makes him so great is his unwillingness to swing at pitches outside the zone. Soto makes pitchers come to him, not the other way around.

However, this approach has made him less of an aggressive hitter than he could be, as his swing percentages have also ranked among the lowest in the league since the 2019 season, per Fangraphs.

For such an elite hitter, Soto also hits a fair amount of balls on the ground. With a slight tweak to account for more line drives and fly balls and a slightly more aggressive approach at the plate, Soto could become the game's most dangerous hitter.

Who knows what kind of numbers he could put up? A .330 average, 40-plus homers and 100-plus runs, walks and RBI would be well within his range of outcomes. Those are not just MVP-like numbers. They're historically great numbers.

The Nationals would be insane to trade away Soto, who could blossom into one of the greatest hitters in MLB history.