We have years of watching Juan Soto bash home runs, win awards and obliterate benchmarks, but maybe the most fun will be in seeing how he invades the thoughts and intent of opposing pitchers.
He’s only 22 years old; with intense smiles and subtle sneers, his face betrays how absurdly often he diagnoses the pitcher’s plan against him, how he correctly anticipates particular pitches. Even when he doesn’t swing, you can see in his shuffle in the batter’s box and his stare to the mound the great competitive arrogance he has.
Already he possesses all the elements of the best hitters. The ability to make contact — and when he hits the ball, he typically hits it very hard. He also has developed a unique understanding of how opponents plan to get him out, which aids him in making that contact and in driving the ball with power. He rarely chases pitches out of the strike zone.
A special hitter like Soto deserves a special statistic that can reflect those layers of skill and understanding.
Batting average doesn’t cut it because it doesn’t show the acute nature of his plate discipline. There have been some great high-average hitters who are hackers. Slugging percentage can’t really demonstrate his ability to consistently put the ball in play with authority. You can have a really good slugging percentage while also having a ton of missed swings. His home run ratio and exit velocity, as good as they are, don’t really show how efficient he is with his swing, especially in an era filled with a lot of hitters who generate gobs of missed swings.
So we give you the “Crush Quotient” — a relatively simple statistic that reflects Soto’s stunning mastery of what Ted Williams called the science of hitting. The Crush Quotient is this: Total bases divided by the number of swings a hitter takes. If you are like Barry Bonds or Mike Trout or Soto and you know you’re probably going to get very few pitches to hit in the strike zone, you need to do damage when you do get them. A high ranking in the Crush Quotient reveals a special set of skills.