A deal unlike any other: 9 wild facts about Soto trade

August 3rd, 2022

The 2022 Trade Deadline certainly did not disappoint, and by far the biggest move was the Nationals trading Juan Soto and Josh Bell to the Padres.

Overall, five 2022 All-Stars were traded -- Andrew Benintendi, Luis Castillo, Josh Hader, Jorge López and Soto. That’s tied with 2017, '14 and '03 for the third-most All-Stars from that year to change teams in one season, behind only 2021 (10) and 2016 (eight).

A player like Soto being dealt at this stage in his career is unprecedented. Don’t believe us? Keep reading.

Here are nine stats and facts about the Soto trade and its context:

• Soto is the first player to be traded midseason in the year he was an All-Star at age 23 or younger. That’s right -- he is the youngest player to change teams during a season in which he was an All-Star.

• This July wasn’t Soto's first All-Star appearance, either. It was his second. Soto -- who also won the 2022 Home Run Derby -- is the first player to make multiple All-Star teams and then change teams all before turning 24, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. We weren’t kidding about calling this a never-before-seen move.

• Soto has a 158 OPS+ so far this season. Only two players in the live-ball era (since 1920) have had an OPS+ of 158 or higher in a qualified season where he played for multiple teams: Mark McGwire in 1997 (170) and Manny Ramírez in 2008 (166). Depending on where Soto finishes the season, he could join the list.

• Speaking of OPS+, Soto and new teammate Fernando Tatis Jr. each had a career 160 OPS+ through the end of last season. That’s tied -- with each other -- for the fifth-highest OPS+ through a player’s age-22 season, with a minimum of 1,000 plate appearances. They trailed Ted Williams (183), Mike Trout (167), Stan Musial (166) and Ty Cobb (163). That’s three Hall of Famers and a future Hall of Famer … and now the next two players on the list are teammates. Imagine.

• Want more context on why Soto is worth a trade like this? We have plenty. Some 170 players have at least 1,500 plate appearances since the start of 2018. Just three of them have more walks than strikeouts: Soto (50 more BB's than K's), Alex Bregman (36 more) and Carlos Santana (12 more). Soto is the only active player with at least 1,500 career plate appearances and more walks than strikeouts.

• He has 119 career home runs, 11th most by a player before turning 24. No. 119 came in his last game with the Nationals, when he worked three walks, including two against former teammate Max Scherzer. Soto was the first batter to work multiple walks against Scherzer in a game this season. He’s just the fourth with a homer and two walks against Scherzer in a game, joining Travis Shaw (July 27, 2017), Jake Lamb (May 4, 2017) and Curtis Granderson (May 17, 2016). Not too shabby off a future Hall of Fame pitcher.

• The three walks marked Soto's 31st career game with at least three walks, two more than any other player before turning 24 since at least 1901. Next on that list is Ted Williams, with 29, and after that is Eddie Mathews, with 18. Only 89 players since at least 1901 have more career three-walk games than Soto's 31. He's 23 years old.

• Of course, Soto isn’t the only All-Star the Padres have acquired in the past few days. With Josh Hader and Soto, the Padres are the eighth team to acquire two players amid All-Star campaigns. They join the 2021 Dodgers (Max Scherzer, Trea Turner), 2016 Rangers (Carlos Beltrán, Jonathan Lucroy), 2015 Blue Jays (Troy Tulowitzki, David Price), 2014 A’s (Jon Lester, Jeff Samardzija), 2003 Yankees (Aaron Boone, Armando Benítez), 1998 Dodgers (Jeff Shaw, Gary Sheffield) and 1937 Senators (Wes Ferrell, Rick Ferrell).

• Why did the Padres need to make a move for bats? They entered Tuesday slugging .376, which ranked 25th in MLB. No team has won the World Series with a slugging percentage that low since the 1988 Dodgers, who slugged .352 in the regular season (ranked 22nd out of 26 teams then in MLB). Power matters in the playoffs, especially lately. Since the start of the 2018 postseason, teams are 106-17 in playoff games when they out-homer their opponents.