Record-breaker Juan Soto reaches 700 walks before turning 26

Yankees' player Juan Soto
SL.com
Amanda Paula
Friday June 21, 2024

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According to Baseball Reference, Juan Soto became the first player to achieve 700 walks before turning 26. He reached this milestone with a five-pitch walk against Cole Irvin of the Orioles in the third inning of the Yankees’ 17-5 loss last Thursday.

Breaking Records

Juan Soto’s 700 walks are the fourth-highest total for a player in their first 853 career games. Only Ted Williams (782), Max Bishop (750), and Frank Thomas (717) have more. Previously, Mickey Mantle held the record with 668 walks before age 26.

At 25, Juan Soto has surpassed 100 walks in every season where he played at least 150 games. He has led the league in walks for the past three years and is on track to do so again. Before the series opener against the Braves on Friday, Soto had 60 walks, the best BB% in the league at 17.9%, and an on-base percentage of .433. His BB/K ratio of 1.15 was only second to Mookie Betts’ 1.38.

Praise from the Yankees

Juan Soto’s performance is celebrated not only by Yankees fans but also by the club’s legends. Gerrit Cole, for instance, stated that Soto will continue breaking records in New York.

“He’s a great player,” said Gerrit Cole, “and he’ll probably break a few more major league records at some point.”

“I try to get on base every time,” said Soto, who was also batting .309, with a slugging percentage of .576, 18 home runs, 56 RBIs, and an OPS+ of 183 in his first season with the Yankees.

Reports indicate that Juan Soto began honing his vision as a prospect in the Nationals’ system, studying the strike zone and pitchers’ habits. Over time, he learned to predict when opponents would challenge him and when they would try to make him swing. He adjusted his swing and learned when to hold back.

In the minors, Juan Soto had an on-base percentage of .434, but it was only when he reached the majors that he realized his special ability to judge the strike zone. Initially, he doubted himself when minor league umpires called strikes on pitches he thought were balls, but major league umpires confirmed his judgment.

According to the NY Daily News, Juan Soto frequently talks with umpires to understand their strike zones and adjust his own.

What Lies Ahead for Juan Soto with the Yankees?

Despite his stellar season with the Yankees, there is uncertainty about whether Juan Soto will remain in pinstripes. Every day brings new reports and rumors from insiders.

What is known is that the Yankees have expressed their intention to keep the Dominican star for the upcoming season.

For now, Juan Soto and the Yankees will continue their record-breaking quest this Friday when they play against the Braves at 7 PM Eastern Time.

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