He turned 23 just a couple of months ago, and he already has 98 home runs, 337 runs scored, and 312 RBI.
That’s awfully impressive given that he didn’t start the 2018 season with the big league team and the 2020 campaign was played on a shortened calendar.
Over 464 games, he is hitting .301/.432/.550 with a 156 wRC+.
The wRC+ stat means weighted Runs Created Plus, and allows us to evaluate a player’s offensive performance and adjust it to era, ballpark, and other external factors.
In wRC+, 100 is considered average, so Soto has produced 56 percent more than his peers.
It’s an impressive number, among the league’s elite.
A Truly Impressive Hitter
He came this close to winning his first MVP award in 2021 after hitting .313/.465/.534 with 29 homers, 111 runs, 95 RBI, and a 163 wRC+.
He was even better in 2020 (.351/.490/.695, 201 wRC+) but lost the MVP to Freddie Freeman, likely because he played 47 out of 60 games.
He already has a World Series ring under his belt as well.
In other words, he was game-changing talent at 19, when he made his big league debut, and he is a monster now, quite likely the best hitter in major league baseball.
Juan Soto is 22 years old. These are absolutely absurd career numbers. Look at OBP… pic.twitter.com/1EaevRS9uS
— Dan Karpuc (@DanielKarpuc) September 24, 2021
So, how far can Soto get in MLB?
In his two full seasons so far, Soto has hit 34 and 29 homers, in 2019 and 2021, respectively.
Let’s say he hits 27 per year until he is 32.
That would give him 368 home runs through his age 32.
His swing is compact, short, and beautiful: he has elite ball-strike recognition and covers every quadrant of the plate with ease, so we have every reason to believe he will age well as a hitter.
The HR derby ruined Juan Soto’s swing 🤷♂️
— B/R Walk-Off (@BRWalkoff) July 19, 2021
It’s entirely possible he can hit 20 bombs per year until an advanced age, so while he is not an elite slugger, reaching 500 homers is plausible if he stays healthy for most of his career.
Power is not the most exciting aspect of his game, however.
Comparing Him To Modern All-Time Greats
Cabrera is currently at .310/.387/.532 with a career 143 wRC; while Pujols is at .297/.375/.544, with a 141 wRC+.
Soto, at the moment, is at .301/.432/.550 with a 156 wRC+.
Right now, he has a better wRC+, but we would have to see where the numbers are at when he has played a few seasons past his prime, which is what lowered Pujols and Cabrera’s wRC+.
Soto may not have their kind of power ceiling, and has yet to show the kind of peak that made the two sluggers historically great, but he could still have a gear to hit.
If we project his end-of-career numbers, we can find a batting average around .300, an elite OBP around .400 or more, and a slugging percentage well over .500.
He may hit 500 home runs with 500 doubles, 1,500 runs, and 1,500 RBI.
With those ratios and totals, he would be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Let’s just hope health and luck are on his side.