Soto launched a home run in the series finale against the Miami Marlins which happened to be the hardest hit jack of his career. The home run, which had an exit velocity of 114 miles per hour, was just the third long ball of the month for Soto. Only four days remain in the month. A far cry from the 16 Kyle Schwarber smacked in the month of June.
The deep ball against the Marlins gave Soto 90 for his career, just ten shy of the 100 plateau. With 35 games remaining it’s conceivable he could reach the milestone this year. He won’t, however. How do we know? He won’t see enough good pitches to do so.
Nationals outfielder Juan Soto is just ten homers shy of the 100 mark, unfortunately he won’t see enough good pitches to get there this year.
Compared to the league leading numbers Soto put up a year ago (AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS), Juan has had a down year this season. That still amounts to a .300 batting average, league best .444 on base percentage, and .953 OPS.
Why such a boost in OBP? Soto has walked a league best 100 times to this point, with a league leading 14 intentional passes. Opposing teams aren’t going to pitch to Soto, or if they do, they won’t give him anything to drive.
During his three-homer month of August, Soto has had nine games where he has walked at least twice.
With several games against the New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, and Cincinnati Reds (all teams battling for the playoffs) on the schedule coming up, teams will be looking to pitch around the Nationals most dangerous hitter.
Whether it is no protection in the batting order, no one on base ahead of him, or nothing for the Nationals to play for, Soto is destined to end the year just shy of triple digits in the home run column.
Right now Soto is averaging one home run every 18.4 at-bats. We will give him 4.5 at-bats per game moving forward and say he plays in all 35 remaining tilts. At his current average, Soto has nine home runs in him. Problem is, he won’t come close to those 157 at-bats. Plate appearances, probably. Official at-bats, taking out the walks, and that number drops by about thirty.
Juan Soto won’t get to 100 home runs during the 2021 season, and his efforts will have little to do with that.