Oswaldo Cabrera unlocks offensive spark after embracing Juan Soto’s approach at plate

Juan Soto and Oswaldo Cabrera of the New York Yankees are up against the Astros in Houston on March 29, 2024.

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Oswaldo Cabrera has transformed himself into a dedicated student, and his teacher is none other than New York Yankees superstar, Juan Soto. The Yankees utility star, who affectionately calls the Dominical slugger the “Latin Leader” for his bilingual fluency, takes every opportunity to observe the slugger, particularly during batting practice.

Spring training transformed into a learning experience for Oswaldo Cabrera and his fellow prospects – shortstop Oswald Peraza and outfielder Everson Pereira. These young Yankees consistently positioned themselves near Juan Soto’s batting cage, absorbing every detail of his masterful approach at the plate.  Juan Soto’s bat control was a masterclass, and his focus on line drives instead of towering fly balls resonated deeply with Oswaldo Cabrera. After each session, Juan Soto, acting as a patient instructor, would offer valuable insights, further solidifying the lessons learned.

Oswaldo Cabrera’s keen observation skills allowed him to dissect Juan Soto’s technique, particularly the unique way he generates power.  He constantly questioned himself, searching for the secrets behind Juan Soto’s hitting prowess.  One key takeaway was the emphasis on line drives. Witnessing Juan Soto consistently line rockets during practice sessions left a lasting impression on Oswaldo Cabrera, prompting him to reevaluate his own approach, which had previously prioritized home runs.

Despite a rough start to spring training with a 1-for-23 slump, Oswaldo Cabrera never wavered in his dedication to improvement. However, his struggles fueled concerns about a potential Triple-A assignment to start the season. The Yankees’ desire to strengthen their bench due to his inconsistent performance added to the uncertainty. Yet, with DJ LeMahieu’s foot injury sidelining him indefinitely, an opportunity arose for Oswaldo Cabrera.  With increased playing time on the horizon, he has a chance to showcase his development and potentially solidify his place on the major league roster.

“The one big thing that I see from that guy is he doesn’t try to hit fly balls,” Oswaldo Cabrera told during the spring camp. “He’s not trying to hit the ball in the air every time. His hands just get quick to the ball. That’s what got my attention. He’s always trying to hit line drives. When I saw Soto hitting in the cage for the first time, it was low line drives all of the time, so what am I doing trying to hit homers all of the time? I talked with the hitting coaches about it — obviously, Soto and I are not the same. But I’ve been trying to take some of the things he does into my game.”

Oswaldo Cabrera celebrates after having his fourth hit in the Yankees vs. Astros game on March 29, 2024, at Houston.
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Oswaldo Cabrera fills offensive void for Yankees looking to rebound

Oswaldo Cabrera has emerged as a surprising offensive contributor for the New York Yankees, and his success can be attributed in part to a key adjustment at the plate. He adopted a toe-tap approach, similar to the one Gleyber Torres utilized effectively last season.

While Oswaldo Cabrera had dabbled with the toe-tap in the minor leagues, he committed to it more consistently in recent months. This change aimed to simplify his swing mechanics and eliminate unnecessary movement for improved control. Interestingly, he initially reverted to his familiar high leg kick upon arriving at spring training. However, struggling to find his rhythm, the Yankees utility player wisely returned to the toe-tap approach and saw positive results.

He was further inspired by Juan Soto‘s ability to generate quick bat speed despite using a leg kick. Recognizing that replicating the star slugger’s natural talent might not be feasible, Oswaldo Cabrera cleverly adapted aspects of Juan Soto’s approach to suit his own swing.

This newfound approach paid immediate dividends. During spring training, Oswaldo Cabrera showcased a remarkable turnaround, batting an impressive .375 (9-for-24) with two home runs. He has carried this momentum into the regular season, going a blistering 6-for-9 with a home run and four RBIs in the first two games. His production has been crucial in bolstering the offensive output from the lower part of the Yankees’ batting order.

Manager Aaron Boone lauded Oswaldo Cabrera’s dedication to improving his hitting. He specifically praised his focus on making consistent contact and capitalizing on hittable pitches. Boone emphasized the importance of not letting good pitches go to waste, and he acknowledged Oswaldo Cabrera’s significant improvement in this area.  Boone highlighted his ability to hit the ball with direction, a vital skill for success at the Major League level.

“I think he’s worked hard on controlling the flight of the ball,” the Yankees skipper said. “You hear me talk about not putting your pitch on the net — when you have a good swing and you’re on it but you foul it off. He’s doing a better job when he gets his pitch, putting it on a line. That’s critical in the big leagues. When you get a pitch to handle, you have to make your money there.”

Oswaldo Cabrera has four hits in the Yankees vs. Astros game on March 29, 2024, at Houston.
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Juan Soto takes notice of Oswaldo Cabrera’s scorching bat

Oswaldo Cabrera has emerged as an unexpected force on offense for the New York Yankees, with his success credited to more than just a revamped swing; strategic plate discipline also plays a significant role. Despite being listed as a switch-hitter, He notably excels when batting from the left side.

His struggles against Astros starter Framber Valdez, a southpaw, highlight this point. However, Oswaldo Cabrera remains confident in his ability to switch-hit effectively. The Yankees have implemented a strategy of having him bat left-handed against certain left-handed pitchers, a tactic that paid off in the eighth inning against reliever Parker Mushinski. Oswaldo Cabrera’s clutch two-run single in that situation serves as a prime example of this strategy’s effectiveness.

While Juan Soto has garnered much of the attention for his own performance in the first two games, he hasn’t overlooked Oswaldo Cabrera’s contributions. The star hitter expressed genuine admiration for his younger teammate success, calling it “unbelievable” and voicing his happiness for his teammate.  He acknowledged Oswaldo Cabrera’s hard work and perseverance, recognizing the journey through the minor leagues that led him to the Majors.  Despite Cabrera’s early career stage, Juan Soto is impressed by his consistent performance since spring training and anticipates his continued success.

“Unbelievable. He’s great,” he said of Oswaldo Cabrera. “I’m more than happy for him. He’s a guy who’s been grinding throughout the minor leagues and then to see him come up to the league and do what he’s been doing, we all know it’s early but I’m more than excited to keep seeing it. He’s been doing that since spring training.”

Yankees stars Austin Wells and Juan Soto are looking at a tablet at Tampa, FL, on March 5, 2024.
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Following Friday’s game, the player of the game championship belt served as a tangible reminder of Oswaldo Cabrera’s contributions.  A smile played on his lips as he acknowledged it, aware that a strong two-game showing doesn’t guarantee a stellar season after a challenging 2023.  However, he views the award as validation for the time spent meticulously observing Juan Soto’s techniques in the batting cage.

Oswaldo Cabrera expressed appreciation for his recent progress but emphasized the importance of staying grounded.  He remains committed to continuous improvement, acknowledging the season’s early stages.  His focus is on maintaining consistency and concentration, recognizing that each new day represents an opportunity for further success.

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One thought on “Oswaldo Cabrera unlocks offensive spark after embracing Juan Soto’s approach at plate

  1. Thank God & Darwin (I’m covering all bases) for Juan Soto & his Brilliant (retro) hitting approach. Swing level, make consistent hard contact, and the HRs will come naturally. Hmm, where have I heard that before for about 60 years?

    For old-time baseball fans, what Soto is doing & preaching isn’t innovative, it’s just SMART, and it’s what Historically Great Hitters, like Ted Williams, George Brett, Joe D., and so many other baseball immortals did.

    Brian Kenny, “The Braindead Fans’ Analyst,” has been ignorantly saying for years that Batting Average doesn’t matter, what a moron! As long as games are decided by who scores the most runs, Batting Averages will be one of the major components in winning baseball games, particularly a player’s average with runners on base.

    It wasn’t that long ago that nitwits, like the “Bobbsey Twins” of Brainless Brian* Cashman & Brainless Brain* Kenny bought into the idea that OBP & exit veto mattered more than Batting Average. And that got us crap hitters, like Gallo & Donaldson, a ton of Strike Outs, boring as hell games, and Zero success. (*Don’t name your kids Brian: there’s apparently a curse of abject stupidity associated with that name.)

    And what did the Yankees do this offseason: BOTH key outfield additions hit for higher-than-usual AVERAGES, as well as with varying degrees of power.

    Funny, though, I don’t recall Cashman falling on his sword & saying, “D’oh, I was wrong—again!”

    I’m glad Cabrera (and others) had the good sense to learn from Soto and pick his brain, rather than to continue listening to brainless nitwits like Brian Kenny, whose career BA, OBP, SLG, OPS, and OPS+ are all easy to recall at .000 (that’s zero, zero, zero, if you’re numerically challenged), which, oddly enough, matches Kenny’s baseball IQ.

    But, of course, Brainless Brain Kenny knows more than Soto, Williams, Brett, Joe D, etcetera, etcetera. Or at least Kenny thinks he does, another trait he shares in “The Fellowship of the Dumb***” with Brainless Brian Cashman. Sadly, though, that Fellowship doesn’t have any rings.

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