Numbers. And number Juan

Washington Nationals leftfielder Juan Soto has been getting a lot of ink recently. He’s probably the second-most talked about person in town, after, you know, the guy who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Trump wishes he were having such a year as Juan.

Of all Soto’s stats, his most incredible number is this…


As in, 19 years old.

Soto is flirting with and/or has broken nearly every “teenage” batting record in his year with the Nats. Sure, not every teenage Wunderkind turns into a Hall of Famer, but when you’re passing names like Griffey and Ott you know you’re off to a good start.

Soto’s teammates describe his maturity, especially his maturity and discipline at the plate, and the numbers bear that out.

For example, Juan Soto sees an average of 4.18 pitches per plate appearance. Major league average is only 3.91. (If that doesn’t sound like a lot multiply it by six or seven hundred plate appearances a season.) He sees a 2-0 count on 17.1% of his plate appearances, versus 13.7% for the rest of MLB. And swinging strikes? Only 14.2%, compared to 18.2% for everyone else. (Guy doesn’t swing and miss.)

Here’s where a knowledge of math and numbers helps illuminate some details.

To the untrained eye, percentages like 14.2 and 18.2 sound close. But remember, 18.2% isn’t four percent more than 14.2, it’s nearly 30 percentmore. Remember Crash Davis’s speech in Field of Dreams about “one more hit a week”? One more hit a week gets you from being a .250 hitter to being a .300 hitter? The difference between being a benchwarmer and a Hall of Famer is the difference between getting a hit 25% of the time and doing so 30% of the time. What Crash didn’t explain was that 30 percent is 20 percent more than 25 percent.


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About moc

My name is Mike O'Connell. I am 36 years old and live in Northern Virginia. I am a teacher, a musician, and an enthusiast of all things American.

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