Juan Soto hit 11 dwelling runs in 79 video games and 332 plate appearances going into the All-Star Break final summer time, in his fourth large league marketing campaign, however issues picked up for the now-23-year-old slugger after a go to to Denver, Colorado’s Coors Area, the place he took half in MLB’s 2021 All-Star HR Derby for the primary time, in his first All-Star Sport look.
Soto placed on a formidable show within the Derby, shedding to eventual winner Pete Alonso within the second spherical, after knocking Shohei Ohtani out within the first spherical, then got here out swinging within the second-half of the season, hitting three homer runs his first three video games and 15 PAs to begin what would find yourself being a monster second-half run (.348/.525/.639 line, 18 HRs, 11 doubles, 87 walks vs 41 Ks in 72 video games and 322 PAs after the break).
Soto’s .525 second-half OBP was the eighth finest, “… in Main League historical past for any participant after the All-Star Break,” because the Nationals famous of their 2021 Season in Evaluation, and the uptick in his dwelling runs he credited to discovering his swing within the Derby, after a couple of irritating months of floor ball outs as he struggled to raise the ball.
“You possibly can inform, I simply really feel so a lot better now,” Soto stated when requested in regards to the affect of the HR Derby. “I used to be enthusiastic about it, and it actually helped me just a little bit simply get me that feeling the way to put the ball within the air and every part. As a result of I attempted every part that I can within the first half, and the ball [would] nonetheless go into the bottom, so I’ve simply received to discover a option to put the ball within the air, and see the way it goes and I feel the Derby helped me out, large time.”
Soto went into the All-Star Break this yr with 20 HRs in 91 video games, however he informed reporters he determined to participate on the HR Derby once more as a result of … “I imply, for me, it labored final yr.”
Soto, as quoted by MLB.com’s Sarah Langs, stated he was making an attempt to repair his swing final yr in Coors Area, however this yr, he’s moving into with a distinct agenda, after he additionally hit a 520 foot. shot which at present stands because the “Statcast period’s” record-holder for the longest dwelling run within the Derby:
“I used to be fairly fortunate final yr. I don’t know the way far I can hit one, however I’ll see,” Soto stated.
“I’m going to attempt to hit the longest oppo homer of this Derby. … Everyone can pull the ball. Let’s see how far you hit the ball oppo.”
Targets, folks. Will you be watching Juan Soto within the HR Derby tonight? If not, why not? No, actually, we care why or why not? Benefit from the present…