Juan Soto is Taking Over the Bronx One At-Bat at a Time

The New York Yankees are rolling and their newest superstar, Juan Soto, has fans in the Bronx on the edge of their seats every game.

HOUSTON, TEXAS - MARCH 30: Juan Soto #22 of the New York Yankees scores in the third inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on March 30, 2024 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

The infamous “Soto Shuffle” has been a part of Juan Soto’s game for his entire career, but now with the biggest fanbase in baseball behind it, we’re seeing the intimidating gesture take off. Soto has always been must-watch TV and New York is finally enjoying the experience up close.

Thanks to the continued success of Juan Soto, the surprising dominance of a Gerrit Cole-less pitching staff, and the arrival of Aaron Judge’s bat, the Yankees find themselves in the midst of a battle for first place in the AL East with the Baltimore Orioles.

It’s pretty clear how much of an impact Juan Soto has had on this team to begin 2024. His approach at the plate – seeing tons of pitches and mashing pitches in the zone – has found its way throughout the entire lineup. The Yankees are currently second in the league in pitches per plate appearance (4.03) and 3-0 counts seen (83) through the first 42 games.

Why is this important?

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The Yankees have been a team that lives and dies by the home run. In the last few seasons, they weren’t too successful in hitting home runs or at least having men on-base when they did. The Yankees finished 2023 ranked 27th in On-Base Percentage and ninth in home runs.

With Juan Soto influencing the lineup in 2024, the Yankees are currently third in the league in OBP (.335) and second in home runs (57) – both up a significant amount from this time last season. The difference is clear as we’re finally seeing how this Yankee offense was designed to perform.

Not only is Soto affecting the play on the field, but he has also quickly became a fan favorite for those in the seats and at home. There is no one else in the league that works at-bats quite like Juan Soto and it is truly a spectacle to watch.

Every time Soto steps up to the plate there’s a buzz throughout Yankee Stadium that we’ve only recently experienced with Yankee captain Aaron Judge. With Soto in the box, it feels like watching baseball in its truest form – an old western shootout, just batter versus pitcher.

One look at Soto’s Baseball Savant page and you will find that it is blood-red.

The only hitter in baseball with a higher average exit velocity than Soto right now is his own teammate in Judge. Soto does not chase. He walks more than he strikes out and he is hitting baseball better than pretty much every hitter in baseball not named Shohei Ohtani.

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Through his first 42 games in pinstripes, Soto is hitting .314/.414/.541, with nine home runs, 34 RBIs and a 173 wRC+.

If I was a Major League pitcher, I would certainly not be looking forward to a shootout with him. Between his current numbers and “Soto Shuffle”, Soto is undoubtedly one of the most intimidating bats in the game.

From the outside, Soto looks right at home in the Bronx and the fans sure are doing their part in getting him to consider re-signing this offseason. In the clubhouse, this team has formed a strong chemistry around Soto – much more than we ever saw with Soto in San Diego. As of right now, the team and fans have checked every box in persuading the superstar to stay in New York.

Give him a blank check. What Soto has already done for the Yankees and their fans is worth a record-breaking amount of money. We will find out this offseason if they will give it to him, but in the meantime, Yankees fans can sit back and enjoy the ride.