Sal doubles down on Juan Soto, questions his mindset at the plate

Juan Soto reacts at home plate on March 30 and April 16, 2024, in Houston and Toronto respectively.

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New York sports radio host Sal Licata continues to raise questions about the offensive approach of Yankees slugger Juan Soto, despite his undeniable contributions to the team’s success.

Licata previously criticized Juan Soto’s focus on drawing walks, particularly in a key situation where he walked to load the bases for teammate Aaron Judge in the bottom of the ninth. Juan Soto, however, defended his strategy, emphasizing the importance of reaching base to create scoring opportunities for his teammates and highlighting the collective strength of the lineup.

Juan Soto elaborated on his approach in an interview with the YES Network. He acknowledged his responsibility to contribute offensively while highlighting his role in setting the stage for Judge’s success.

“I just try to do my job,” he responded while talking to the YES Network. “I’m here just to get on and let Judge do his thing. Whenever I can do damage, I’m going to try to do it, but it’s a whole teamwork. We do it as a team.”

Juan Soto, player of the new york yankees
NY POST

Sal turns up heat, challenges Juan Soto’s batting mindset

Licata remains unconvinced, arguing that Juan Soto needs a more aggressive mindset at the plate if he wants to unlock his full potential and secure a record-breaking contract extension. He acknowledged the slugger’s stated goal of “getting on base and handing it to Judge,” but argued for a more well-rounded approach.

“Dude, his job is not to walk. What are we talking about here?” Licata stated. “You don’t get $500 or $600 million to look for walks in big spots.”

However, the Yankees slugger demonstrated his offensive prowess on Saturday by launching a three-run homer on a 3-0 pitch, showcasing his ability to capitalize when given the opportunity.

While Licata acknowledges that drawing walks is a valuable skill, he believes Juan Soto needs to expand his repertoire further to justify a potential $600 million contract. Licata envisions the Yankees outfielder as a dominant force in his own right, not just a catalyst for Aaron Judge.

“There are certain spots he will need to produce, and I don’t mean walking,” the radio host said. “If I’m looking to sign him in the offseason, that’s gonna be a big factor in whether I would want to give him $600 million or not. I want him to be the guy, not a guy who says his job is to get on for Aaron Judge.”

Juan Soto, player of the new york yankees
Yamlees

Despite the criticism, the numbers speak for themselves. With a blistering .344 batting average, a .468 on-base percentage, and a .541 slugging percentage, coupled with three home runs and 15 RBI, Juan Soto is undeniably one of the most productive hitters in Major League Baseball. Time will tell if Licata’s concerns will translate into contract negotiations, but for now, Juan Soto’s performance on the field remains the primary talking point.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

One thought on “Sal doubles down on Juan Soto, questions his mindset at the plate

  1. Sal Licata is a fool, and I hate saying that about a fellow Italian, but he is a fool.

    Every player on the Yankees could (and should) learn something VITALLY Important from studying how Soto approaches every at bat. Watching Soto’s approach to hitting has already helped transform Cabrera into a much better hitter, and that’s not me saying that that’s what Cabrera has said.

    I’m barely old enough to remember Ted Williams last season (I was 5) because every time Williams came to bat, my dad, who was a diehard Yankees’ fan, would nudge me in the ribs with his elbow & say: “Watch this guy! Watch this guy! He’s the Greatest Hitter who ever lived!”

    And one of Williams’ dictums was never swing at balls & don’t swing at anything that’s not in your sweet zone or “go zone” with less than 2 strikes. For Ted Williams, that meant don’t swing at anything he couldn’t reasonably expect to hit at a .300+ to .425 clip.

    Soto approaches hitting much like Ted Williams, waiting for the pitcher to give him a pitch in his “go zone” that he knows he can drive with Authority, thereby greatly increasing his chances of getting a hit. Licata is too witless to comprehend the Brilliance of that approach.

    If you’ve never seen Williams’ 1968 Sports Illustrated article on “THE SCIENCE OF HITTING,” it’s worth seeking out. Ted broke down the entire strike zone into individual baseballs & posted what he would hit, on average, for every ball in the strike zone. Williams endeavored to NEVER swing at a pitch outside His Go Zone of approximately .300-.425, until he had 2 strikes on him, because Ted understood — unlike Licata — that You’re Helping The Pitcher Out when you expand your go zone.

    An Amusing Williams Anecdote: With Ted at bat, the ump called a pitch a ball & the pitcher complained that it was a strike. The ump replied: “Young man, Mr. Williams will let you know when you have thrown a strike.”

    Williams’ ultra-scientific approach to hitting is why Truly Great Hitters like Ken Griffey, Jr. & Tony Gwynn & so many others FAWNED over Williams when he was honored at the 1999 All-Star Game in Boston. (Don’t believe it? Check out the youtube video.)

    Tony Gwynn was an All-Time Great Hitter, yet Gwynn acted like a little boy meeting the REAL Santa Claus when he greeted Ted Williams at that all-star game, and Griffey just BEAMED, like a small child, at the sight of The Great Ted Williams. That’s how Brilliant Williams was at the Science of Hitting, and Soto is endeavoring to employ the same Brilliant approach in his at bats.

    And that’s what Sal Licata is knocking?! Wow, are you full of yourself & something else I won’t mention (think “hit” & tack on an “s.” No, not “hits,” Sal.). So, Mr. Licata, you know more about hitting than Ted Williams, Ken Griffey, Jr., Tony Gwynn, and Juan Soto? W-O-W! When did you hit .406, Licata? And when did you hit 521 HRs, despite spending 5 prime years in the military? Or did you ever win the NL batting title with a .351 average, as Soto did in 2020?

    Such Brilliance in hitting is apparently beyond the comprehension of a man like Licata. And his Fallible Logic that Soto shouldn’t have taken a walk to load the bases & leave it up to Aaron Judge is UNBELIEVABLY, INDEFENSIBLY STUPID!

    Soto was passing the baton to an AL Most Valuable Player who holds the AL (and really the MLB) record for Single-Season Home Runs. He wasn’t passing the baton to Jose Trevino, for god’s sake.

    Btw, Ted Williams’ .482 on-base percentage is the highest all time because he DIDN’T swing at bad pitches or pitches outside his “go zone” with less than 2 strikes, much like Juan Soto. That’s what Truly Great Hitters Do! but that’s obviously beyond your acumen, apparently.

    Everyone, including Sal Licata, should be REVELING & REJOICING in Soto reviving The Correct Approach to hitting, not lamenting the fact that Soto has a PhD in the strike zone & the art of hitting. Even the Great Aaron Judge, who often expands the strike zone to the pitcher’s advantage, could learn something by studying Soto’s approach at the plate. It’s that Brilliant, and I’m a HUGE Fan of Aaron Judge!

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