Is it possible Juan Soto got … even better at the plate?
It appears so.
The three-time Silver Slugger and former batting title holder knows a thing or 40 about being successful in the batter’s box. What he’s been able to do this spring is perfect some of those attributes.
His timing and the way he sees the ball are the two more prominent ways he’s only getting better at the game.
“Definitely, I feel great,” Soto told the media on Friday, including MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell. “I feel like my timing is right on point. You’ve just got to keep grinding.”
Sure, timing sounds like a fundamental part, but simplifying the approach oftentimes is what leads to positive results. The cliches are there for a reason. Say what you want about spring training numbers, but when you’re batting with a .727 average and eight hits in 11 Cactus League at-bats, you pay attention.
He also had more plate appearances while he was representing the Dominican Republic during the World Baseball Classic. His at-bats were so prominent during the tournament, striking him out resulted in a big-league signing for a young, 21-year-old pitcher.
Soto finished his WBC campaign hitting .400, with some home runs that brought the crowd to their feet.
He also says the way he sees the ball is why those numbers are where they’re at now.
“It’s way different, the way I’m seeing the ball now,” Soto said. “Right now, I’m feeling like 2020 Spring Training, and it’s a great feeling, just amazing how I’m seeing the ball.”
Juan Soto says he’s seeing the ball “way different” than he did last year and that his mechanics were “off” during all of last season. Soto compares how he’s feeling now to Spring Training in 2020.
Soto: “Just amazing how I’m seeing the ball.” pic.twitter.com/8r3yE34xxq
— 97.3 The Fan (@973TheFanSD) March 17, 2023
After Soto was brought over to the Padres last season as part of a massive trade with the Washington Nationals, he left a lackluster output on the table.
He slashed .236/.388/.390 with San Diego— the lowest trio of numbers across his career. Not to worry though.
“Mechanically, I was off last year, the whole year,” Soto explained. “I tried to find my mechanics, but I think I really found it again.”