Yankees’ Hall of Fame bat could have yet another ‘breakout season’

MLB: Colorado Rockies at San Diego Padres, yankees, juan soto
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a world where both Yankees superstar sluggers Aaron Judge and Juan Soto compete with one another for the American League MVP award next season. Both offensive goliaths have more than enough talent to get it done, with Judge accomplishing that feat during the 2022 season when he hit an MLB record 62 homers.

However, at 25 years old and already containing a Hall of Fame-level bat, Soto could have another breakout season, as Bryan Hoch of MLB.com suggests. Soto is heading into a contract in his final arbitration and is expected to earn around $30 million this upcoming season.

Putting together another elite campaign would give Soto all the chips when he hits the open market and is looking for an extension. The Yankees will obviously be in the mix, especially after missing out on Yoshinobu Yamamoto, saving $325 million. There is no excuse now for general manager Brian Cashman to play a Soto extension coy since the team has the financial ability and this is the type of move the Evil Empire completes. The Yankees sign Hall of Fame-level bats, not let them leave due to cost.

The Yankees Could See Something Special From Soto

Last season, Soto hit .275/.410/.519, including a career-high 35 homers, 109 RBIs, and 12 stolen bases. Over four consecutive seasons, Soto has never had a strikeout rate higher than his walk rate, enjoying three seasons over his six-year career with a BB% over 20%.

This is No Ordinary Talent

Soto could supercharge an offense by himself, but being paired with Judge at the top of the Yankees’ batting order gives them a dynamic duo that could set records. Combined, the two could smash more than 100 home runs next season, especially given the short right porch and Soto’s lefty bat.

His best campaign came back in 2021, hitting .313/.465/.534, posting 29 homers, 95 RBIs, and a 164 wRC+. Of course, this is not considering the Covid season, in which he hit .351/.490/.695 with a 202 WRC+.

If the Yankees receive a player who hits over .300 and maintains his on-base percentage above 40%, their offense will benefit significantly. Last year, they ranked among the league’s worst with runners in scoring position and batting average. However, the Dominican native hit .299/.439/.576, with nine homers and 71 RBIs with RISP. This is the type of bat you want hitting in the second or third slot, helping to drive runners in and maximize men on base. Judge hitting right behind him may be ideal, given he gets on base at a significant clip via walks — vice-versa also works just fine.

It would be fun to see both players competing against one another for the MVP since they would be pushing each other in healthy competition. Judge simply wants to win championships, and while personal achievements are great, the end goal is hoisting that trophy in the Bronx in front of a fan base starving for a championship.

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