If the San Diego Padres are alive in the race for a postseason spot in the National League, they have six players to thank: Ha-Seong Kim, Blake Snell, Xander Bogaerts, Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado and, especially, Juan Soto.
Soto overcame a suspect start and is showing why he could become one of baseball’s richest players in short order.
With his 20th home run of the season on Tuesday night, he is joining a very impressive list.
“Juan Soto is the 12th player with 5 20+ HR seasons thru his age-24 season, joining: Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Giancarlo Stanton, Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr, Tony Conigliaro, Orlando Cepeda, Frank Robinson, Mickey Mantle, Eddie Mathews, Mel Ott,” stats expert Sarah Langs tweeted.
Juan Soto is the 12th player with 5 20+ HR seasons thru his age-24 season, joining:
Ken Griffey Jr
Mel Ott https://t.co/daSJ5FECVJ
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) July 26, 2023
The vast majority of those players either are already in the National Baseball Hall of Fame or will be when they retire.
Soto was called up to the big leagues by the Washington Nationals when he was just 19, and has produced every year since that moment.
He would have a sixth 20-homer season if it weren’t for the shortened 2020 campaign.
This is a special hitter and he shows it every day.
After his latest round-tripper, the outfielder is hitting a rock-solid .262/.416/.501 with 20 dingers, 59 runs scored, 61 RBI, and six stolen bases.
He leads the Padres with 3.6 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) and projects to reach the 5.0-WAR threshold for the third time in his young career.
The scary thing is that he is not even 25.
He could get even better, and he will enter the free agent market after the 2024 campaign.NEXT: Blake Snell Holds MLB Lead As Padres Cling To Contention