The Soto Shuffle chain: Juan's new good-luck charm

Right fielder hits two-run HR, extends on-base streak to 18 games while wearing necklace

July 9th, 2022

ATLANTA -- What better way to embody a top-tier slugger than to wear a necklace representing one while you play?

And hit a home run.

Donning a chain with a replica of his infamous Soto Shuffle dangling from it, Juan Soto belted his 16th homer of the season on Friday night at Truist Park in the Nationals’ 12-2 loss to the Braves. The necklace, created by Icebox jewelers, is a diamond silhouette with intricate gold accents, including his shin guard.

“It was really nice,” Soto said. “I was keeping it inside, but [Ehire] Adrianza told me to pull it out and let people see what I like.”

A bejeweled Soto delivered a two-run shot to center field off starter Charlie Morton in the third inning that traveled a Statcast-projected 418 feet at 106.6 mph. He added it to his collection of 10 dingers at Truist Park, tied with Citi Field for second-most at an opposing ballpark. He's hit 12 in Philadelphia.

“I think the ball flies pretty well,” Soto said. “I’m not looking for homers here -- I just try to make good contact and see how far it can land.”

Soto went 2-for-3 with one run, two RBIs and a walk on the night. He has reached base safely in 18 consecutive games, dating back to June 17.

“Juan’s starting to swing the bat,” manager Dave Martinez said. “He hit a home run to center field, got a base hit to left field, so that’s the Soto that we know. That’s great. Hopefully, he continues to keep it going and some of his teammates could join him and we start scoring some runs.”

After hitting .195 in June, Soto is slashing .471/.625/.882 with a 1.507 OPS in seven games in July as he makes a push to earn his second straight All-Star selection. Last season, he also competed in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby.

“Everybody wants to see the results of the work that you’ve been doing, day by day,” Soto said. “I think it’s coming out right now. I feel pretty good at the plate, at the dish, and I’m seeing the ball well. Even the pitchers know it.”

Over his five-year career, Soto has proven what pitchers can expect when they see the Soto Shuffle at the plate. The at-bat approach, which began in the Minor Leagues as a way to zone in and stay focused, is one of the more recognizable in the game. Some fans want to see it in action, others want to replicate it.

At a recent community event, Soto was asked by a youth baseball player to demonstrate the Soto Shuffle. The 23-year-old put on a clinic.

Soto even shuffled atop the Nationals' dugout during the 2020 season.

And could there be a future generation of the shuffle? Soto’s younger brother, Elian, portrayed the move before going yard at Nationals Winterfest 2020.

Soto’s new trademark diamond necklace stands out on the field, just like his performance did on Friday.

“It’s pretty cool. I wouldn’t wear it,” Martinez said with a laugh. “But it’s pretty cool.”