Why Juan Soto will knock his home run prop out of the park in 2024 - Sport News

Why Juan Soto will knock his home run prop out of the park in 2024

The 2024 MLB season is right around the corner, meaning that season-long prop bets are being offered. Juan Soto certainly qualifies as…

Why Juan Soto will knock his home run prop out of the park in 2024

The 2024 MLB season is right around the corner, meaning that season-long prop bets are being offered. Juan Soto certainly qualifies as a superstar, and his total is set at 35.5, which would match his career high for homers in a single season. If Soto sets a new career high, gamblers who pick the over will win their bet. So, is Soto going to have a career season as he approaches free agency? Let’s find out. 

Soto is in an ideal situation

Juan Soto is in a great position to set a single-season career-high for home runs. With the Yankees, he’ll have the best protection in his career, with all due respect to Anthony Rendon and Manny Machado.

Soto has never had a player like Aaron Judge hitting behind him, and he should get more pitches to hit this season than he has had in his career. Soto is an incredibly patient hitter who is more than willing to take his walks if pitchers don’t throw strikes. He is consistently among the league leaders in walks, but this reduces the number of opportunities he has to hit dingers.

Putting Soto on base makes it more difficult for teams to pitch around Judge, though. While Soto isn’t much of a base stealer, if he is on first and the opposing pitcher gets behind in the count to Judge, they’ll face a difficult decision.

Their first option is to go after Judge, but this means they’ll have to put their pitches in the strike zone where the 6’7” slugger can do immense damage. The second option is to give in and pitch around Judge, allowing him to take first base. If Soto is already on base, though, this strategy will result in Soto being advanced into scoring position. The Yankees also have better hitters following Judge this year.

In 2023, Anthony Rizzo started out dominant before an unfortunate concussion derailed his season. Rizzo is healthy and appears to be back to his old self. If the lefty slugger returns to form and Gleyber Torres continues his consistent production, teams will have an even harder time justifying pitching around Soto and Judge.

All of this means that Soto is likely to see plenty of pitches in the strike zone. He’s an incredibly advanced hitter and does plenty of damage to balls in the zone. This, combined with the short porch in right field, should give the Dominican star plenty of opportunities to maximize his power potential.

Soto capitalizes on pitchers’ mistakes

Soto is a unique style of hitter. He has an impeccable eye for identifying balls and strikes, arguably the best since Barry Bonds or even Ted Williams. Soto is incredibly patient at the plate, consistently ranking at or among the league leaders when it comes to pitches taken.

His patience combined with his pitch recognition skills allow Soto to sit back and wait for the pitcher to make a mistake.

When the opponent makes an error and Soto gets a pitch that he can do damage with, he absolutely obliterates the baseball. This approach should serve Soto well in New York, as he will see more pitches to hit than he has ever had in his career.

Soto’s approach combined with seeing more hittable pages is a lethal combination that will prime the young star for a historic season ahead of his highly anticipated free agency.

Could there be a repeat of the Summer of ‘61 in the Bronx?

Yankees fans of a certain age will no doubt fondly remember the year 1961. Throughout that spring and summer, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris went back and forth trading places as the team’s home run leader while they both made a push to challenge Babe Ruth’s record of 60 homers in a single season.

The pairing of Judge and Soto might just be the closest the Yankees have come to recreating the magic of “The M&M Boys” since Mantle and Maris donned the pinstripes themselves.

Health is key

When betting on season-long props, it is always important to take injury risk and the player’s historical bill of health into consideration. In this department, Soto is one of the safest players to bet on in the entire league. He rarely misses games and is built durably.

The value is on the over

Soto averages 0.2 home runs per game. The Padres often had Manny Machado batting behind Soto, but Machado doesn’t quite scare pitchers the way Judge does.

Given the improved protection he will have in the lineup around him, it’s reasonable to expect Soto’s home run rate to increase to around 0.25 per game.

Given the lefty slugger’s consistently clean bill of health throughout his career, it is a no-brainer to back the over for Soto‘s home run total.

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