Judge and Soto on track to replicate iconic Yankees duo’s MLB hitting record

Yankees' Aaron Judge celebrates with Juan Soto after his home run against the White Sox at Yankee Stadium on May 19, 2024.
Sara Molnick
Thursday June 6, 2024

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The tandem of Yankees sluggers Juan Soto and Aaron Judge is shaping up to be one of the most formidable offensive duos in baseball history, according to statistical analysis. As of Wednesday’s 9-5 victory over the Twins, Judge is on pace for an 11.0 WAR, while Soto is tracking at 9.1, according to Baseball Reference. Their combined 20.1 bWAR of the Yankees pair would surpass any duo since the regular season expanded to 162 games in 1961.

For context, the celebrated Yankees Mickey Mantle (10.5 bWAR) and Roger Maris (6.9) combined for 17.4 bWAR during their iconic 1961 season with the Yankees.

Anthony Rizzo remarked on the daily Yankees spectacle of seeing Soto and Judge hitting consecutively, “It’s a show. It’s fun to be a part of. You have to appreciate being a part of something like this. It’s rare, if not unprecedented, in this league.”

Players of the new york yankees: Aaron Judge and Juan Soto

Yankees pair made in heaven

The potential of this duo became apparent when the Yankees acquired Soto last December. Fans and manager Aaron Boone envisioned a potent combination, and the results have not disappointed.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone remarked on the success of batting Judge and Soto back-to-back, stating that this lineup configuration had matched his expectations since its inception. He explained that having been aware of their capabilities, the Yankees had envisioned this pairing to be highly effective. Boone acknowledged that while the results had largely aligned with his initial vision though baseball remained an unpredictable sport.

“I guess, in a way, this was what I pictured and fantasized about since it happened and I started writing out lineups,’’ the manager said. “Knowing what they were capable of back-to-back. I would say it’s gone very well. In a lot of ways, it is what I envisioned. But it’s baseball and you never know.”

The results speak volumes. Judge leads the majors with a 1.084 OPS and 21 home runs, while Soto is second in OPS at 1.027 and tied for fourth with 17 homers. In Wednesday’s game, Soto went 1-for-3 with two walks and two runs, while the Yankees captain tallied five RBIs, a walk, and went 1-for-3.

Judge-Soto duo on pace to dethrone Yankees legends

A historical comparison of their combined dominance could be the legendary duo of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. In their famous 1927 season, Ruth and Gehrig amassed a combined 24.4 bWAR (Ruth 12.6, Gehrig 11.8), and in 1930, they totaled 20.1 bWAR (Ruth 10.5, Gehrig 9.6).

Former New York Yankees teammates Babe Ruth, right, and Lou Gehrig pose together at a spring training game on March 16, 1935, in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Though it is still early in the season, Soto and Judge are currently on pace to challenge the records set by these legendary Yankees sluggers, cementing their place among the most prolific offensive tandems in baseball history.

To truly grasp the combined impact of elite teammates like Judge and Soto, analysts point to historical pitcher-hitter duos.

The 1985 Mets featured Dwight Gooden (13.3 bWAR) and Gary Carter (6.9), combining for 20.2 bWAR. Meanwhile, the 1965 Giants boasted Willie Mays (11.2) and Juan Marichal (10.5), totaling 21.7 bWAR.

For additional historical context beyond the Yankees‘ clubhouse, Jim Hendry, a special assistant to GM Brian Cashman and a seasoned veteran in the majors since the early 1990s, provided insights.

Hendry emphasized that while the ultimate measure of Judge and Soto’s impact will be determined at season’s end, their performance in the initial months has been extraordinary, rivaling any historic combination. “Before you go too far in history, you have to see how it finishes out,” Hendry stated. “But the first two or three months have been spectacular, right up there with every combination that ever played the game.”

If Judge and Soto maintain their impressive performances, both are on track to set career highs in bWAR. According to Jim Hendry, a special assistant to GM Brian Cashman, this is no accident. Hendry noted that the presence of another elite player can significantly elevate an entire lineup. With Soto batting left-handed and Judge right-handed, it creates a nightmare for pitchers trying to devise a game plan.

New York Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton celebrates with teammate Aaron Judge after hitting a two-run home run as Juan Soto looks on during the third inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres, May 24, 2024, in San Diego.
AP Photo/Gregory Bull

Giancarlo Stanton expressed his amazement at the duo’s achievements, questioning how long it had been since two players put up such remarkable numbers. When informed about the historic names Judge and Soto are challenging, Stanton envisioned even greater potential for the pair, suggesting their dominance could extend beyond this season. “Ordinary for them is extraordinary for the rest of us,” Stanton commented, adding that he sees this as a potential eight- to ten-year run, rather than a single-season phenomenon.

The possibility of prolonged dominance by Judge and Soto hinges on the decisions of Soto, his agent Scott Boras, GM Brian Cashman, and owner Hal Steinbrenner, especially with Soto set to become a free agent after this season.

Stanton acknowledged the potential long-term impact of their partnership, stating that having their level of performance year after year would be extraordinary. He noted that witnessing their capabilities up close is remarkable, and their presence in the lineup means he often gets more opportunities to bat in the first inning.

These are the type of players MLB fans plan to see, and it’s a privilege for the Yankees to witness their performance nightly.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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One thought on “Judge and Soto on track to replicate iconic Yankees duo’s MLB hitting record

  1. Once Hal realizes (like the Dodgers with Othani) that Soto, now combined with Judge, is a ticket and merchandising gold mine! paying Soto $600-$700 will pay dividends for at least 8 years. This does not count an expected Super Outfield when Dominguez and Jones arrive. Hal needs to see the potential long term earnings, not just a short term ledger. He is such the accountant!

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