San Diego Padres: These Juan Soto numbers tell a story

San Diego Padres outfielder Juan Soto
San Diego Padres outfielder Juan Soto / Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

While plenty of San Diego Padres fans may focus on the groundout off the bat of Juan Soto to end the eighth inning on Wednesday night in Minneapolis, the previous eight at-bats are showing exactly the type of numbers and production that San Diego Padres fans have been aching for since Soto arrived in southern California.

Yes, the groundout that ended the eighth spoiled a chance for the Padres to take the lead in an eventual 4-3 Minnesota win. However, check out the numbers from Soto’s previous eight at-bats heading into that grounder.

San Diego Padres: Numbers looking very positive for Juan Soto

As mentioned in the tweet, not only is Soto hitting the ball hard (his average exit velocity is in the 95th percentile of all MLB players this season), but he’s also pulling the ball and making more on-time contact than in 2022. Last season, his pull percentage sat at 33.6 percent. This year, it’s jumped to 45.7 percent. His barrel percentage is also up early, jumping from 12.1 percent in 2022 to 17.0 percent in 2023. Compare that with the MLB average of 6.8 and you’ll see why Soto is in the 94th percentile when it comes to barrel percentage.

Soto is tied for 16th among MLB players with balls coming off the bat at 95 mph or higher this season. It’s also the most of any Padres player (Manny Machado is next, tied for 64th at 41).

Of course, these numbers don’t tell the entire story for Soto, who comes into Thursday’s action slashing .246/.406/.454 and leading all MLB players with 35 walks in 165 plate appearances (helping boost that on-base percentage in a very solid way). However, as Washington’s GM mentioned recently when he told Padres fans that “the numbers will be there” for Soto when the season concludes, perhaps this hot stretch is a sign that the subject of San Diego’s most talked about trade in recent seasons is indeed trending in a very positive direction.

NEXT ARTICLE: The 4 worst moves by A.J. Preller since 2014