All the rage in baseball is the record $1 billion the Los Angeles Dodgers spent on two players this offseason. But before that, the trade the New York Yankees made to acquire superstar hitter Juan Soto sent ripples through the baseball world.
While the Bronx Bombers could use some starting pitching, acquiring Soto gives a huge boost to an offense that struggled last year – especially when it went without Aaron Judge for much of the summer.
The Yankees, who missed the playoffs for the first time in a decade, was second-to-last in MLB in batting average (.227) and 25th in runs scored (673).
Soto, who will be going into his age-25 season, is coming off a year where he hit .275, hit 35 home runs, and drove in 109 runs. Those numbers could also go up for the left-handed hitter since he will be playing a potential 81 games with the benefit of Yankee Stadium’s short porch in right field.
Oh, and neither of these went to the short porch.
While we endure a cold winter awaiting the crack of the bat in spring training, let’s look at some Juan Soto-specific prop bets. Plus, how the odds on the Yankees’ 2024 futures bets have changed due to the acquisition.
Yankees’ World Series Odds Jump After Getting Soto
One day after the Texas Rangers won the 2023 World Series, the odds for the following year’s Fall Classic were released. The Yankees were quite possibly the lowest they’ve been on that list in many years. When looking at the odds at PointsBet, that’s no longer the case.
|TEAM TO WIN 2024 WORLD SERIES
|ODDS ON NOV. 2
|Los Angeles Dodgers
|New York Yankees
The Soto deal pushed the Yankees from co-favorites in their own division (with Baltimore and Tampa Bay) to co-favorites in all of the American League.
Is Now the Time to Buy on the Yankees?
Consider this: the starting pitching, aside from Cy Young Award-winner Gerrit Cole, is shaky in its current form. Carlos Rodon had a miserable first year in the Bronx, and questions surround Nestor Cortes, Clarke Schmidt, and… oh wait, that’s it on the current depth chart.
Oddsmakers are assuming the Yankees will add pitching. They weren’t able to land Yoshinobu Yamamoto, but there’s still activity on the free agent market, which includes NL Cy Young winner Blake Snell and Texas postseason star Jordan Montgomery. If you recall, the Yankees traded Montgomery away to St. Louis two years ago, so Brian Cashman might be looking for a homecoming there.
If the Yankees miss on these, their odds aren’t going to drop much from where they currently are now. So we say jump on NY now.
A Juan Soto Prop Bet to Take in NY
DraftKings is offering two special prop bets that involve Soto.
The first is a straight-forward bet. It’s for Soto hitting 45 or more home runs in the 2024 regular season. This bet can bet had only on the “yes” side for +180.
Soto set a career high for homers last season with 35. At first glance, it seems silly that he will hit 10 more in ‘24. But as we mentioned, the short porch at Yankee Stadium is a real factor. Besides, Soto is coming from one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the majors.
Baseball Savant ranks Petco Park as the fourth-most pitcher-friendly park in 2023. Yankee Stadium fell in the middle of the pack, but just for home runs, Yankee Stadium was fourth best for hitters, and Petco was 25th.
Soto also has had a penchant – thus far in his young career, anyway – to stay healthy. He played in all 162 games a year ago, and in his three other full seasons before that, his lowest total was 150.
There’s also the matter of Soto’s impending free agency, so expect him to perform in his walk year.
At nearly 2:1 odds, we say take the bet and root for the big fly early and often in 2024.
What About Soto and Judge? There’s a Prop for That
If you would rather not rely on one player to eclipse his career-high home run total by 10, here’s another DraftKings prop to consider:
Aaron Judge and Juan Soto Combined Regular Season Home Runs, Over/Under 87.5.
At closer to even money each way, we consider this a riskier bet. Judge, who is just a year removed from a 62-homer season, is a bit feast-or-famine in the HR department. In six full seasons, Judge has 62 and 52, but no other total over 40.
Judge had 37 in 106 games last year. That wasn’t far off his 2022 pace, but he missed over 50 games with a toe injury that was a bit of a fluke.
Judge’s 162-game average is 50 home runs. Let’s say he does better than last year and ends up with 45. That means Soto would need 43 to hit the over. You could bet on just Soto hitting 45 and get nearly double the odds for it. Because of that value, we’ll leave this bet alone and stick with Soto himself.