What Juan Soto adds to the San Diego Padres lineup

The San Diego Padres have adopted superstar Juan Soto from the Washington Nationals. What does Soto add to the Padres lineup?

Any team with hopes and prayers of making it through the postseason at least had a secret desire to land Juan Soto, but the San Diego Padres were the team to include the most to offer and a willingness to part with enough assets to capture the biggest prize of the trading session.

What did the Padres get in return other than a 23-year-old superstar outfield player makes $17,100,000 this year with arbitration years two and three following in 2023 and 2024 respectively?

On the field, Soto has batted average and strong, batting .291/.427/.538 over nearly 2,000 major league at bats.

His skills on the plate are elite and his swing almost flawless. Soto is in the 90th percentile or higher these categories: Max exit speed (90th percentile), xwOBA (98th), xSLG (96th), BB% (100th) and tracking rate (99th).

In a so-called down season, Soto also ranks high in barrel percentage (85th percentile) and average speed (77th percentile) and hard hit percentage (82nd percentile).

This season, Soto is posting .246/.408/.485, but his expected numbers are much better at .269/.413/.525, and while that expected batting average is well below Soto’s career mark, it’s still in the 81st percentile of Major League Baseball in 2022.

Based on Outs Over Average (OAA) metric, Soto was an up and down fielder going from -7 OAA in 2018 to +6 in 2019, -2 in 2020, +5 in 2021 and finally went -9 this season.

on the downside, Ultimate zone rating Soto ranks fourth among right fielders with a 2.2.

Given those numbers, you’d think Soto was a DH, but up to this point in his career, Soto has only been a DH in 8 of his 549 major league appearances.

Soto has shown he can play well in defense at times and given his attacking prowess it’s easily a compromise the Padres are willing to make for a youngster who is under the club’s control two more years after this one.

San Diego Padres bet on Juan Soto

Soto’s OPS+ for his career is an incredible 160 according to MLB Network (Modern ERA), sixth all-time up to the age of 23, and only two active players (Mike Trout and Albert Pujols) had a higher OPS+ during that time.

Even this season, his OPS+ is good enough for ninth place in baseball, he’s ninth in offensive WAR and leads the MLB in stride by a staggering 31 over the next player.

Understandably, he struggled in the midst of the Nationals post-championship debacle, but just last season did a 22-year-old Soto hit a .313/.465/.534 slash on 29 home runs. 95 RBI and a league with 145 hikes.

The Padres are betting that this is the Soto we’ll see for the rest of 2022 and for the next two years, and they were willing to pay dearly for that bet.

https://fansided.com/2022/08/02/juan-soto-stats-padres-lineup/ What Juan Soto adds to the San Diego Padres lineup

John Verrall

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