Grading the Padres’ big-name trade acquisitions in postseason
By Jerry Trotta
3. Juan Soto
Much like Bell, Padres fans have been left wanting more from Soto, Bell’s teammate in Washington. Soto was nails against the Mets, .hitting 333/385/.333 with two RBI but has fallen off a cliff at the plate since and his defense in right field has left a lot to be desired … and sparks more questions about his Gold Glove nomination.
Entering Game 3 in Philadelphia, Soto was batting .156 (four hits in 24 at bats) with two doubles and two RBI apiece in the NLDS and NLCS. Though Soto is slumping for his standards, his knack for delivering timely hits remains unquestioned.
That would normally lead us to grading him on a curve, but the defensive struggles can’t be ignored after Friday. In the second inning, he took an awful angle trying to cut off a Bryson Stott single in the gap and the ball rolled to the wall allowing Stott to stretch it into a double. Nothing came of it, but that cannot happen in the NLCS.
In the sixth inning, Soto was unable to make a diving catch on a Alec Bohm screamer with two outs. The runner on second came home to score to give the Phillies a 4-2 lead and we’re left wondering if Soto should’ve simply fielded the liner on a bounce.
Given how hard the ball was hit, Soto would’ve had a shot nailing Nick Castellanos (not the fleetest of foot), who was running on contact.
Like Bell, Soto, while still productive and making himself heard, hasn’t lived up to expectation this postseason to date.