Breaking news: Not that we need to be told, but Juan Soto is pretty good at baseball. At age 23 Soto already has a World Series Ring, a Silver Slugger, and tonight, it was announced that Juan Soto is a finalist for the MVP Award for the NL along with Bryce Harper and Fernando Tatís Jr. Not a bad way to kick off your baseball career.
Soto, 23, led all of Major League Baseball in on-base percentage (.465) and walks (145) in his fourth professional season. He ranked second among National League hitters in OPS (.999), batting average (.313) and runs scored (111). He was the only qualified player in Major League Baseball with more walks than strikeouts (93), leading the league with a 1.56 walk-to-strikeout ratio.
Soto’s .465 on-base percentage was the highest in a season since 2008 (HOF Chipper Jones, .470), while his 145 walks were the most in a season since Barry Bonds set the Major League record with 232 in 2004 and the second-most by any player prior to his 23rd birthday behind Hall of Famer Ted Williams (147 in 1941).
Soto was named a National League All-Star and participated in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby in 2021. He vaulted himself into Most Valuable Player consideration thanks to a strong second half coming out of the All-Star break, hitting .348/.525/.639 with 11 doubles, one triple, 18 homers, 53 RBI, 87 walks and 57 runs scored. His .525 on-base percentage ranked eighth in Major League history for any player after the All-Star break.
In addition to his .313/.465/.534 slash line, Soto recorded 20 doubles, two triples, 29 home runs, 95 RBI, 145 walks, nine stolen bases and 111 runs scored in 151 games. He reached base safely at least four times in 26 games. Only Barry Bonds (2001, 2002, 2004), Hall of Famer Babe Ruth (1920, 1923, 1931) and Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig (1931) put together seasons with at least 26 games in which they reached base safely at least four times.
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