When Juan Soto was a member of the Washington Nationals, he was well known for his power.
But one thing that often got swept under the rug was his ability to stay patient at the plate, work counts, and draw walks.
Soto is now a member of the San Diego Padres following Tuesday morning’s trade deadline blockbuster.
In his first at-bat with his new team, Soto drew a four-pitch walk.
Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post tweeted the result of Soto’s first at-bat as a Padre and noted that even though he’ll still walk quite a bit as a member of the Padres, he won’t be walking as frequently, as Manny Machado is right behind him in the Padres lineup.
Juan Soto's first AB as a Padre? A four-pitch walk. He'll get a lot of those. But man does it hit different when Manny Machado is hitting behind him.
— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) August 4, 2022
The Padres have that lineup now where you have to pitch to everybody.
If you walk one guy, you’ve got another big bat right behind him.
Walking Soto is going to become a Cardinal sin with Machado right behind him.
This is now one of, if not the best lineup in all of baseball.
There are simply no soft spots in the order.
With so many guys to protect him, Soto will walk less and probably hit some more home runs since pitchers will be forced to pitch to him.
As a pitcher, you just don’t want to take your chances with this Padres lineup.
It’s going to be hard to slow these guys down when they get hot.
Soto’s patience at the plate will remain, as will his trademark shuffle.
But you can’t pitch around him anymore.