Juan Soto has become the undisputed face of the Washington Nationals. The problem? Soto is in the midst of the worst season of his MLB career.
The Nationals’ right fielder is struggling mightily to get on base by means of base hits. His struggles are low-lighted by hitting .214 and having difficulties keeping the ball in front of him in right field.
All that said, Washington shouldn’t be sounding the alarm on Soto. He has a roadmap out of this rut.
Juan Soto is still making contact for the Washington Nationals
No matter the way one slices it, Soto is having a bad year in comparison to his success in years past. His productivity is down across the board. He’s making weak contact, generating an underwhelming amount of offense and has essentially been a mere home run threat.
There’s a key word in said description of Soto’s struggles: “contact.” Yes, weak contact or contact that results in an out means what it means; it’s an out. On the other hand, it’s substantially better to record outs by putting the ball in play, as opposed to striking out at an alarming clip.
Soto has tallied 53 hits, compared to 46 strikeouts this season. That’s a plausible hit-to-strikeout comparison for an impact hitter like Soto. It’s also one that falls in line with his career tendencies. More often than not, he’s still forcing the defense to make a play instead of being set down.
- Juan Soto stats (2022): .214/.365/.431, 14 home runs and 31 RBIs across 248 at-bats
Furthermore, Soto is drawing a great deal of walks with teams presumably pitching around him from time to time. Maybe the Nationals changing hitting coaches in the offseason plays a role in Soto basically hitting his way on base once every five at-bats?