After last year’s disappointment, Boone dares to dream big with Soto on board

The Yankees' manager Aaron Boone and Juan Soto
Amanda Paula
Tuesday January 30, 2024

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Aaron Boone, the boss of the Bronx Bombers, dropped by Talkin’ Yanks with Jamboy and Jake on Monday night, offering predictions and excitement for the upcoming season. He believes the Yankees hold all the cards to “really bang” in 2024.

“Hopefully, we’re in a better position to withstand the inevitable injury or whatever it may be,” Boone said. “Hopefully, we can absorb that offensively this year because I think we’re going to really bang.”

He also shed light on the Juan Soto trade saga, revealing negotiations heated up at the Winter Meetings:

“It was definitely in the hopper and looked like it was potentially going to happen. We were trying different iterations, in a lot of ways, probably trying to keep Michael King out of the deal. So it took a few days, and in the end, we gave up a good package. The Padres did really well, but you’re like, ‘Man, this is Juan Soto; we have a chance to get him.'”

Boone predicts much of the improvement will come from the Judge-Soto duo:

“He and Aaron [Judge] could be a phenomenal tandem. I’m really excited about the potential of our offense, now with more versatility and depth to withstand injuries.”

Though the interview dropped Tuesday morning, Boone revealed he spent his offseason vacation in Uruguay, focusing on the year ahead. “I was busy with family and trying to round out our team.” said the Yankees manager.

Drilling down Juan Soto’s numbers in 2023, will he be a game-changer for the Yankees? 

It feels like just yesterday, but it’s been only 17 months since Juan Soto joined the San Diego Padres, nestled between seasons of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Now, Soto finds himself wearing the iconic pinstripes of the New York Yankees, with high expectations resting upon him. Can he truly be the difference-maker the Yankees need?

Aaron Boone and the entire Yankees fan base harbors hopes of a better campaign than the previous year. However, can Soto live up to the lofty expectations? The statistics speak volumes: his presence alone has already bolstered the team’s prospects.

At 24, Juan Soto isn’t just another baseball phenom. He’s a statistical anomaly, defying age-related expectations with a Rookie of the Year title that places him among the top 1% of rookies since 2000 in terms of age at the award. This remarkable feat, achieved amidst the whirlwind of 11 trades in just 16 months, speaks volumes about Soto’s adaptability and resilience.

Soto’s OPS+ remains exceptional at 157, indicating his 57% higher productivity than the average hitter across his six MLB seasons. To put this in context, only five hitters in the modern era have attained a similar OPS+ by their age-24 seasons, including baseball legends like Cobb, Trout, and Mantle.

With a career on-base percentage of .421, Soto joins the ranks of esteemed hitters such as Ted Williams and Jimmie Foxx. He’s a rare talent, boasting 160 career home runs alongside his remarkable OBP, a feat previously accomplished solely by Foxx.

Furthermore, Soto’s outstanding OBP of .421 places him in a league of his own, requiring 179 plate appearances to fall below .400. This level of consistency bodes well for the Yankees, who traded for Soto’s brilliance, giving up five players for just a single year of his services.

However, Soto’s defensive abilities dwindled last season, evidenced by his minus-6 Defensive Runs Saved, leaving much to be desired for a player eyeing a potential half-billion-dollar free-agent contract.

His baserunning also fell short, with a Baserunning Runs Above Average of minus-3, aligning him with players like LeMahieu and Nimmo, who are hardly considered elite.

Moreover, Soto’s two trades before the age of 25 raise questions about his stability and future impact, a rarity among Hall of Fame-caliber players.

Looking ahead, Soto’s trajectory appears promising. His transformation in the last five months with the Padres, boasting a .966 OPS, underscores his resilience and potential for greatness. An NL executive predicts Soto’s MVP-level performance with the Yankees, particularly when batting alongside Aaron Judge.

If Soto indeed claims the MVP title in his debut season with the Yankees, ‘Soto by the Numbers 3.0’ may very well be in store for next winter!

As Boone suggested, Juan Soto’s presence alone has ignited lofty dreams among the Yankees faithful, setting high expectations for the team’s performance in 2024.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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