‘A batting average of 0.188, 176th out of 185 players.’
This is the batting average and ranking as of the 26th (Korean time) of the hitter who is highly praised as ’21st century Ted Williams’.
He was offered a 15-year, $440 million long-term contract by his previous team last summer, and is considered a candidate to sign a contract with a $500 million contract in the free agency market two years later. Such a hitter is struggling early in the season.
This is the story of San Diego Padres outfielder Juan Soto.
As of this day, 13 out of 185 batters in both leagues who filled the required at bats scored 10%. There are only three players from San Diego, including Soto, Trent Grisham (0.198) and Kim Ha-seong (0.197). Among them, Soto’s batting average is the lowest. Soto’s batting average has never been this bad over the first four games of the season.
What is noteworthy is that since Soto moved to San Diego from the Washington Nationals last summer, the ‘Ted Williams-like’ genius has hardly been revealed. Power and accuracy are what Williams of 80 years ago and Soto of the 21st century have in common, but the two weapons are seen intermittently and do not dominate the ground at all.
Apart from his batting average, 4 home runs, 9 RBIs, 16 runs scored, and an OPS of 0.720 are still uncharacteristic of Soto. However, the walk division is still strong. With 22 walks, he ranks first in this category among all batters. Soto was the all-time leading scorer in the category, getting 145 walks and 135 walks in 2021 and last year, respectively.
The fact that there are many walks means that the strike zone is strict, and it also means that the opponent rarely gives good balls. 토토사이트
The problem is that the number of strikeouts is increasing. Soto always struck out less than walked. He has 530 walks and 474 strikeouts for his career. However, as of this day, he has 26 strikeouts, four more than walks. His strikeout rate is 24.3%, the highest since his debut.
Compared to 2021, when Soto came second in the MVP vote, it is noteworthy that the swing rate for fastballs has increased from 16.9% to 23.5%. It also increased from 23.7% to 31.4% for breaking balls, while there is no big difference from 25.7% to 25.0% for off-speed pitches.
In summary, it can be seen that the ability to cope with the fastball as well as the manned ball with the breaking ball has greatly decreased. The rate of hitting the sweet spot, that is, the center of the bat, among in-play balls also decreased by more than 10 percentage points from 29.7% in 2021 and 28.5% last year to 18.6%.
What is the reason Soto is so sluggish? Bleacher Report columnist Brandon Scott diagnosed it this way.
“I don’t understand why Soto hasn’t settled in San Diego yet. He had a .778 OPS in 52 games for the Padres last year and a .727 in 12 postseason games. It’s the same this year, but it’s gotten worse in some areas. Soto attributed this to the pitch clock. He said it was because he didn’t get enough time after entering the plate from the waiting plate. If he doesn’t adapt to the pitch clock, his slump is likely to continue.”
According to the pitch clock rule, which will take effect this year, the batter must finish his batting stance before the remaining 8 seconds of the pitcher’s pitching time limit. As soon as the front hitter finishes hitting, go to the plate, swing the bat a few times, and immediately look at the pitcher. There are hitters who are sensitive to the pitch clock, and there are hitters who are not, but Soto is on the former side. He even complained about the pitch clock.
It is not because of his physical condition, but simply that he is sluggish because he is not good at adapting to the new regulations.
Now, he has digested only 15% of the entire season. Still, it’s Soto, but I think there are still more opinions that he needs to be watched more.
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