Juan Soto talked after his 2 for 4, two-home run game on Wednesday night, which saw the 21-year-old outfielder hit a 466 ft blast to right field in Citi Field before launching an oppo-bomb 403 feet to left, about his approach at the plate, and the adjustments he seems to be able to make even between at bats.
“I just go at bat by at bat,” Soto told reporters in a Zoom call from New York after the game.
“You stay one at bat at a time. Every time I’m going to hit, I’m going to swing, don’t matter if I hit a homer in my first at bat, I’m going to fight my second at bat, my third and my fourth. I just forget about what I did and just try to concentrate on my next at bat.”
No New York Met has hit a HR at Citi Field in the @statcast era further than this 463-foot homer off the bat of Juan Soto.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 11, 2020
How do you like them apples?@JuanSoto25_ // #NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/IS7r1RIpJs
Facing a left-hander, Chasen Shreve, in his second at bat of the game, after his home run to deep right field off right-hander Robert Gsellman the first time up, Soto rolled over a 3-1 fastball outside, sending a grounder to second to start an inning-ending double play. Soto showed some frustration, slamming his helmet to the grass past first base with two hands, but the next time up, against another lefty, Justin Wilson, Soto went the other way with a 91 MPH, 2-2 cutter up high outside and hit it over the left-center field fence.
“For me I just try to calm down a little bit,” Soto said of putting the double play behind him and coming back with a blast. “I was feeling really good at the plate, and when I rolled over the ball, I was too excited, and I wanted to get it so bad that I just rolled over it.
“I just tell my mind and my body to just calm down, try to be short and quick and try to hit the ball the other way.”
“It’s funny,” Davey Martinez said before the series finale with the Mets on Thursday morning, “... because he talks about at bats, and I watch his pitch-to-pitch routine. The whole — I call it the ‘Soto Shuffle’ — that gets him ready for the next pitch — so while he’s doing that, you can tell that he’s preparing himself. So for him, every pitch he’s engaged, and for a young hitter to do that, it’s pretty impressive.”
Just about everything Soto’s done since he arrived in the majors has been impressive and he’s continued to show preternatural calm and talent in his first three big league seasons.
“He understands what he wants to do, he understands how pitchers want to attack him and he stays with that routine,” Martinez said. “He doesn’t let any at bat affect his next at bat.
“He kind of prepares himself to — what he viewed, and what he saw from that pitcher in the previous at bat and he goes about it and says he thinks this is what he’s going to do, and he prepares himself for that at bat, but he’s really good at it.”
After going 0 for 2 to start the fourth of four with the Mets in New York, Soto got hold of a 3-1 sinker from reliever Jared Hughes in the sixth inning and hit another opposite field shot 435 ft to left-center for his fourth home run of the series and fifth of the 2020 campaign.
Soto’s fourth home run of the series and fifth of the season, came an at bat after Mets’ left-hander David Peterson, which the Nationals’ slugger didn’t appreciate. He stared out for a minute before taking his base, then homered the next time up.
“He gets plunked, you don’t know if it’s on purpose or not, whatever, but he did the right thing, he goes to first base, next at bat he makes them pay for it. So, kudos to Soto. Like I said before, he doesn’t give up at bats.
“I told him I said, ‘Hey, when I was playing and before that, that was a huge part of the game anyway. Guy hits four or five home runs, things happen.’
“He did exactly what he was supposed to do. He got back in the box, next at bat and hit one pretty far.”