The Yankees’ dynamic duo are doing the most damage in baseball

MLB: Seattle Mariners at New York Yankees
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Judge and Juan Soto were expected to become one of the best duos in all of baseball, and the Yankees are reaping the benefits of their blockbuster offseason addition. After getting off to an incredible start against the Houston Astros, the 25-year-old superstar was anchoring the Yankees as Aaron Judge got off to a slow start, but with him firing on all cylinders, the duo is crushing the baseball, serving as two of the most powerful hitters in the game right now.

Nobody hits the ball harder than them, nobody walks more than them, and nobody can hit the way these two are this month. Despite the lofty expectations, the two have somehow found a way to exceed them, and the Yankees are looking as formidable as ever with them anchoring their lineup.

Aaron Judge and Juan Soto Drive the Yankees’ Bus

MLB: New York Yankees at San Diego Padres
Credit: David Frerker-USA TODAY Sports

We all know that Aaron Judge is the hardest hitter in the game, leading the league in home runs (115) and barrels (210) since the start of the 2022 season. The former American League MVP is an absolute monster at doing damage on contact, and while Juan Soto is no slouch in that regard, he’s taken things to that kind of level in 2024. At a .520 xwOBACON, Juan Soto is doing by far the most damage of his career outside of 2020, where he played just 47 games due to the pandemic-shortened season and testing positive for COVID-19 before Opening Day.

He’s barreling a career-best 20.1% of batted balls as well, decreasing his groundball rate and improving upon his ability to pull the ball as well, resulting in more game power. Soto isn’t just a threat to leave the yard anymore, we’re talking about a walking barrel machine who is ready to absolutely demolish any ball he puts into contact. Dating back to last September, Juan Soto has 24 home runs in 80 games, and this is after hitting just 29 and 27 home runs in the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

This version of Juan Soto is a scary one; the kind of hitter who has the intelligence and plate recognition to spit on pitches out of the zone while also possessing the contact skills to kill a pitcher in one or two strike counts. Wrap that with a Raw Power tool that stacks up with some of the best players in the world, and we’re talking about a hitter who takes violent hacks and has the barrel control to make sure he’s getting the most out of every swing.

His partner? The single-best power hitter of the Statcast Era.

READ MORE: The Yankees are watching their best player take the offense by storm

MLB: Spring Training-Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees
Feb 25, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Juan Soto (22) and right fielder Aaron Judge (99) talks prior to the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Let me just run you through a quick list of records and titles that Aaron Judge holds through his age-32 season:

  • Most Home Runs by an American League Player (62)
  • Most Barrels in a season (106)
  • Highest Average Exit Velocity in a full season (95.8 MPH)
  • Highest Hard-Hit% In a full-season (60.9%)
  • Highest wRC+ by any player since Barry Bonds in a season (209)
  • Most Home Runs in MLB since 2017 (268)
  • Best wRC+ in MLB since 2021 (180)
  • Highest Active Career SLG% (.588)

Now that we understand the kind of hitter we’re dealing with, let’s talk about the season that Aaron Judge is having in 2024. If you notice, his most home runs, highest full-season hard-hit rate, and most barrels all occurred in the 2022 season, where the Yankee captain had the best year of his career. Fast-forward to 2024, and Judge is striking out less, walking more, hitting the ball harder, barreling the baseball more, and making better swing decisions.

Somehow, Aaron Judge has maintained the unbelievable profile he had in 2022, and we’re looking at one of the greatest stretches of the century unfold as I write this article. As for what these two are doing in comparison to the rest of the league…it’s pretty incredible.

As a duo, Juan Soto and Aaron Judge have combined for more barrels than the entire Washington Nationals roster, and they have produced more fWAR as position players than 15 other teams have produced from their position players. It’s a hilariously elite duo that is finally beginning to hit its stride in May, where they have a combined 229 wRC+ and .748 SLG% as it stands on May 25th.

They’re hitting home runs, working walks, and avoiding strikeouts all at the same time which has given this team a unique identity as a well-rounded offense that still has their usual power hitting. Very quietly, the Yankees have the fourth-lowest strikeout rate (19.7%) while having the most home runs (79) and the highest SLG% (.440) in all of baseball, bludgeoning pitchers who make any mistakes on the mound.

It’s a scary thought to know that both Aaron Judge and Juan Soto are dramatically underperforming their xwOBA marks as well because there might be room for them to perform at an even higher level than this. The Yankees have built the best lineup in the game right now, and they’ve been blitzing teams routinely for about a month now.

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