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Video: Every Juan Soto ‘shuffle’ from the 2019 postseason

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The 2019 postseason was, in a lot of ways, America’s introduction to Juan Soto. Those of us who follow the sport on a regular basis were already well aware of the now-21-year-old’s talent, but he had not yet become a household name until the past month.

Beyond Soto’s immense talent — he has a career .287/.403/.535 batting line with 56 home runs and 180 RBI in two seasons — he ranks among the game’s most confident, sometimes flashy players. His calling card is the little dance he does in the left-handed batter’s box after taking a pitch, heretofore dubbed “the Juan Soto shuffle.” Zach Crizer of Baseball Prospectus put it on the map in April and it has only become cemented as a part of Soto’s repertoire since then. The shuffle varies, of course — sometimes he crouches, sometimes he doesn’t; sometimes he sweeps his foot in the box, sometimes he doesn’t. The end result, however, is the same: high quality entertainment.

In October, Soto continued to rake, posting a .277/.373/.554 battling line along with five homers and 14 RBI in 75 plate appearances. And, perhaps just as importantly, he continued to do his famed shuffle.

MLB has done us all a huge favor, making a compilation of all of Soto’s shuffles from the 2019 postseason. Enjoy.

We have complained here at times that the league hasn’t done enough to market its young stars. For example, it wasn’t until recently that MLB unveiled its “Let the Kids Play” campaign, which resulted in two ads. Marketing Soto as one of the game’s most skilled and interesting personalities, as opposed to implicitly shaming him for his antics, is a big win for the league and hopefully it continues.

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).