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  • Writer's picturePaul Semendinger

The Tuesday Discussion: Judge or Soto?

June 11, 2024

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This week we asked the following of our writers:


Taking into account all aspects of their abilities, their contracts, their skills, their "presence," their ages, and etc...  

 

If you could only have one of the following two players on your team, who would you choose:  Aaron Judge or Juan Soto?

 

Here are their replies:

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Ed Botti - Aaron Judge every time and twice on Sunday!!

 

Soto is an excellent hitter, no doubt about it. Judge is a 1 in a million hitter.

 

Judge is a better fielder, He is home grown. He runs better. He throws better, not to mention that he plays the game the right way (i.e. when he connects on a bomb he leaves the celebrations to the fans and his teammates).

 

I would have had a more difficult time making the decision if, for example, the comparison was Judge vs Ken Griffey Jr, but Soto is not Ken Griffey, Jr. so it wasn’t that difficult of a decision.

 

The all-around better player is Aaron Judge. Soto is not too far behind, but he is behind. Being a lefty helps, but not enough to tip the scales.

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Paul Semendinger - If the question was "Who is the better player right now?" the easy answer is Aaron Judge. As great as he has been in 2024, Soto's OBP+ is 187... but Aaron Judge's is 216. Judge has been a more impactful offensive player than Juan Soto in 2024, even with his very (very) slow start and Soto's great start. Add to this the fact that Judge is a better defender and the easy answer is Judge.


But, Aaron Judge is 32-years-old. And Juan Soto is 25-years-old. That's a seven year difference. Even if Judge is the better player this year, and next, and even the year after, I cannot see a scenario where a 35-year-old Judge is better than a 29-year-old Soto.


Judge has the present. He probably has the immediate future, but the long-term future belongs to Soto. For that reason, if I could only have one of those two players, I'd take Juan Soto.

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Cary Greene - Not a hard question for me to answer - Aaron Judge is my choice even though Soto is younger and could be around several years longer (health allowing). Because Judge plays all three outfield positions and also because he's a more productive hitter, I have to give him the nod. 

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Mike Whiteman - I’ve said before that Juan Soto is the most indispensable 2024 Yankee, and I still believe that. Aaron Judge though is one of the best all-around players I’ve ever seen. If I must pick one, it will be Judge. 

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Ethan Semendinger - This question is a clear showcase of trying to pick between two great things, while others attempt to find some "hidden truth" from each answer when a simple answer exists. Would I like a Lamborghini or a Ferrari? For me, it's no question: I'd rather have a Lamborghini. But, does that mean I don't like Ferrari's? Of course not!


Would I rather take Player A with a .305/.436/.703/1.139 triple-slash or Player B with a .318/.425/.599/1.024 triple-slash? (I'd pick Player A.)


What about if Player A has 24 home runs and 46 extra-base hits, while Player B has 17 home runs and 31 extra base hits? (I'd pick Player A.)


Player A is Aaron Judge. Player B is Juan Soto. There's a clear an obvious answer this year with the pick being Aaron Judge. But, don't discredit Soto. These two guys are the only players in the MLB with an OPS over 1.000. They're 2 of the 13 guys with an average over .300. They're 2 of the 4 guys with an OBP over .400. They're 2 of the 4 guys with a SLG at, or above, .599.


They're the two best bats in baseball. Lamborghini's and Ferrari's are two of the best sports car brands ever. But, just like how picking the Lamborghini is an easy choice, the clear pick this year is Aaron Judge. (And I hope we can continue to have this same question for many many many years in the future with both Judge and Soto on the Yankees!)

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Andy Singer - So, do you take the Ferrari Daytona Spider or the Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale? If you had asked me this question last year, I wouldn't have hesitated for a moment. Since Juan Soto came over via trade, I've grown to really appreciate everything he brings to the table as a player: the eye, the patience, the swagger, the bat control. He's really a specimen at the plate.


However, Judge is at least Soto's equal at the plate (and likely better, overall), and Judge is far superior defensively and is a better baserunner as well. I also think it's important to note how their peers view them. In a recent survey run by The Athletic, Judge tied with Mookie Betts in 3rd place when 100 players were asked who the best player in baseball is right now. When asked who the most overrated player in baseball is today, a very small contingent of players named Juan Soto, though the sample size was miniscule.


The Yankees competed and hung in there with the Dodgers this past weekend without Juan Soto. I don't think the series would have been close had the Yankees played without Judge. As much as I like Juan Soto, I'll ride with Judge if I'm forced to choose.

31 Comments


mikemarinelli54
Jun 12

I’m 70. Much like the Yankees themselves, the window is closing (Haha!). The future is NOW.

Judge it is.

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Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
Jun 11

Agree with Paul's analysis 100%. Judge if it's this year, Soto if it's from now to the end of their respective careers. I think both are likely future Hall of Famers, barring some kind of tragic injury.


Now here's my question: Who, when all is said and done, will have the better career numbers? I'm pretty sure Soto on the counting numbers just because he got started earlier, but on the rate numbers . . . whoo, that's a hard call!

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fuster
Jun 11
Replying to

Soto's best year was produced when he was 21

he was still pretty good at 22


he is doing pretty well this season, bravely trying to re-find his lost youth as his 26th birthday looms.


but who really can say whether Soto will still be a productive player for more than another year or two?


~~~~~


Judge is an entirely different breed of cat

just beginning to ascend when turning 30

and well on the way to winning a second MVP this season


the Yankees should probably try to sign Judge to a 10-year extension ASAP

while there's still a chance that they may extend him for only $500M

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Jeff Korell
Jeff Korell
Jun 11

They are two very different hitters. Judge is your classic power hitter and he will hit far more homers than Soto. But Soto won't strike out as much, and will walk more, and get on base more. Both are guys, if you root for another team, you won't like it when your team's pitchers have to face them.


To answer this question, I brought myself back to all of Judge's previous seasons with the Yankees when Soto was NOT his teammate, and when Soto played for other teams since he became a Major Leaguer. And I asked myself, would I trade Aaron Judge one-for-one straight up, in exchange for Juan Soto? The answer is no. There had been rumors…


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etbkarate
Jun 11

Andy, I'll take the Ferrari Daytona Spider everyday!!

Like

yankeerudy
Jun 11

Are we talking this year only, this year forward, or baseball cards? For baseball cards, you can't lose either way but I'd take Judge.


For this year I'd also take Judge, but again you can't lose either way.


This year forward is when you have to take the age difference into account. That means Soto.

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