The San Diego Padres have not gotten the Juan Soto they expected.
He was to be the final piece of the puzzle, that middle of the order bat that the Padres needed. Instead, he struggled during his time in San Diego to end the 2022 season, drawing walks and making contact but failing to make an impact. Those struggles continued into this season as Soto has admitted to problems acclimating to the pitch clock. But one had to imagine that his talent would eventually shine through.
San Diego Padres starting to see Juan Soto they expected
The player that the Padres expected is starting to shine through. Soto has picked up his production of late, posting a .333/.489/.528 batting line in 47 plate appearances over his past ten games. He has just one homer, but has also hit four doubles while driving in eight runs and drawing 11 walks. One has to imagine that the power will come soon enough.
The Padres are also getting that much closer to seeing the lineup they had envisioned. It may not be a coincidence that Soto began to take off once Fernando Tatis Jr. returned to the lineup. Manny Machado had also gotten off to a slow start, but now has hits in five of his last six games with three homers. Xander Bogaerts has been as advertised. The Padres may still need some pieces, but the lineup is starting to round into shape.
It all comes back to Soto. While the Padres have stars throughout their lineup, they need their prized trade deadline acquisition to be the player he had been. Finally, after several adjustment periods, that appears to be happening right when the Padres need it most.
Juan Soto is finally starting to heat up. The San Diego Padres have been waiting for this to happen since he came on board.