San Diego Padres outfielder Juan Soto hasn’t had a promising start to the season.
He is slashing .188/.355/.365 with four home runs and a .720 OPS.
We have seen him post .900+ OPS seasons before, so that certainly qualifies as struggling for him.
Despite his poor start, he has still done what he does best: draw walks.
Even when hits aren’t falling for Soto, he always makes pitchers work and gets his bases on balls.
His walk rate is a cool 20.6 percent, which is why his OBP is still decent at .355 despite his .188 average.
Soto only needs 12 more walks to break a record, per Codify Baseball.
With only a dozen more walks (and the rest of the season to do it), Juan Soto will become the all-time MLB walks leader for players under the age of 25.
Mel Ott, 541
Juan Soto, 530 and counting 👀
Mickey Mantle, 522
Ted Williams, 493 pic.twitter.com/UuBIKKXp5E
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) April 25, 2023
Seeing Soto mentioned in the same sentence as those names (all Hall of Famers) is certainly proof of his game-changing eye at the plate.
In fact, Soto has more walks than strikeouts, which is extremely rare for all players let alone those still under 25.
He has 530 walks and 474 strikeouts.
Plate discipline is usually something that comes along with time and experience.
Not for Soto, though.
He was special from the go, as he displayed elite plate discipline as a 19-year old in his debut season in 2018.
He also did it while completely skipping Triple-A: the Washington Nationals knew he was special and that he didn’t need much testing in the upper minors.
Soto’s track record suggests he will start hitting eventually, especially surrounded by other dangerous hitters such as Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Xander Bogaerts.
While the Padres wait for the hits and the homers to arrive, they know, at the very least, that he will be on base for his teammates most of the time.NEXT: Fernando Tatis Jr. Comments On His Confidence Upon His Return