Monday, May 27, 2024

Juan Soto breaks a Mickey Mantle record as Yankees continue dominance vs. Twins

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New York Yankees outfielder Juan Soto made Major League Baseball history on Tuesday night when he drew a walk as part of a win against the Minnesota Twins (NYY 5, MIN 1). Soto, who entered the evening with 668 career bases on balls, broke a tie with Yankees legend Mickey Mantle for the most walks drawn by a batter before they celebrated their 26th birthday, according to MLB’s official stats Twitter account. Here’s a complete look at the top five performers in this category:

  1. Juan Soto, 669 walks
  2. Mickey Mantle, 668
  3. Mel Ott, 626
  4. Eddie Yost, 620
  5. Bryce Harper, 585

Soto, 25, will not celebrate his 26th birthday until Oct. 25. He is in the midst of his first year with the Yankees, having been traded to New York by way of the San Diego Padres over the winter. Soto entered Tuesday night hitting .314/.414/.541 with nine home runs and 34 runs batted in on the season. Should he prove able to maintain his 171 OPS+ the rest of the way, it would represent the second best of his career in a 162-game season.

Soto’s elite plate discipline has long been a staple of his game. He’s averaged 132 walks per 162 games throughout his career. Additionally, he’s walked at least 100 times in all four of his full, regulation-length seasons to date. Soto is very much on schedule to do it again this year, too. He entered Tuesday averaging 0.67 walks per game — or, the perfect amount needed to record his 100th walk in 150 games. 

Mantle, for those who aren’t well versed in baseball history, is a legendary figure. He won three Most Valuable Player Awards and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1974, his first year on the ballot. For his career, he posted a 172 OPS+ with 536 home runs, 153 stolen bases, and an estimated 110 Wins Above Replacement, per the calculations hosted at Baseball-Reference.

Speaking of baseball lore, the Yankees continued to dominate the Twins. According to Erik Boland of Newsday Sports, the Yankees are now 118-44 in their last 162 games (including postseason matchups) against the Twins.

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