Juan Soto was one of the biggest names available in this offseason. The New York Yankees were looking for someone just like him. He is definitely one of the best players in MLB at present. Moreover, the Dominican hitter is only 25 years old. He has a long way to go in his career in the major leagues. It took sometime but eventually, the Yankees were able to sign him. The Bronx Bombers can try to extend his contract for over ten years.
But until he becomes a free agent at the end of the next season, the Yankees Nation expects him to turn the team’s offense on its head. In fact, currently, the hitting lineup looks pretty solid. The outfield looks great with Aaron Judge, and alongside him, Soto and Alex Verdugo are there. But there’s one disadvantage of having Juan Soto in the lineup. The Yankees might struggle defensively next season more than ever.
Defensive Ability Of Juan Soto Will Be A Major Concern For The Yankees
Juan Soto, as a defensive outfielder is below average. On top of that, the Dominican hitter may make his team combat the liability by utilizing a lot of ball players. Moreover, Soto’s defensive weakness can make Aaron Judge play both positions and find accommodations in the batting order. Anyhow, last season, the Yankees failed in their defense miserably as well. Moreover, the outfield defense has not been a strong suit of the NY side. Yankees must improve in their DRS (Defensive Runs Saved), UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating), OAA (Outs Above Average), and finally, E (Errors).
As per FanGraphs, in 2023, the Bronx Bombers posted a -26 DRS, -16.8 UZR, -5 OAA, and 15 Errors. It was their defensive statistics, and they used as many as 14 different outfielders. Only Harrison Bader as well as Everson Pereira, made it to a positive DRS and UZR due to a minimum of 70 innings played. Regarding the defense, the fans can even ask questions about whether the $33 million arbitration value of Juan Soto is worth it. In his final year, before Soto heads to free agency, the question will be how strong the defense of the Yankees is.
The Dominican Slugger Was The Guy Yankees Needed The Most
The 27-time champions had the worst batting average last season after the Oakland Athletics. Hence, they were looking for a slugger who would be ideal for their stadium. As a result, the Yankees were looking for lefty outfielders. There were quite a few names the NY side was pondering about. But none more intriguing as the Dominican slugger. As his agent, Scott Boras, likes to say, “Juan Soto is an offense in itself.”
Finally, when the Yankees landed the former Padres outfielder, the fans knew the team is back with a vengeance. After a horrible 2023 season, the Bronx Bombers had to redeem themselves. Clearly, signing Soto for a year is a step in the right direction. The effects of Juan Soto in the Yankees lineup are already making headlines. Previously, the NY side ranked 27th in the WAR list. But now they are at the top. That’s because Juan Soto changed everything. Moreover, the Yankees Nation would hope he brings in better luck for next season.