Position: Left-Handed Pitcher
Date of Birth: 2/11/1995
Acquired: Amateur Free Agent, 2012
Background: Signed as a 17-year old out of the Dominican Republic in 2012, Soto spent two years hurling in the Dominican Summer League, working mostly as a starting pitcher. After sporting a 4.82 ERA in his debut season, Soto improved dramatically in 2014, finishing with a 3.20 ERA and better than a strikeout per inning. In his 2015 Stateside debut, Soto broke out and made a name for himself, both statistically and from a scouting perspective. In 37 innings with the GCL Tigers, Soto finished with a 2.19 ERA, less than a hit per inning, and 9.73 strikeouts per nine innings.
|GCL||Rookie||9||5||0||37.0||34||20 / 9||0||25||40||2.19||1.59||2-4|
|Connecticut||SS-A||2||1||0||2.0||1||6 / 5||0||6||5||22.50||3.50||0-1|
Body: Lean and athletic; long arms and legs; very good strength; has filled out considerably since signing; much more physical than listed height/weight; still has physical projection remaining.
Delivery/Mechanics: Still developing mechanical consistency; high-3/4 slot; plus arm speed; arm and body can get out of sync, resulting in overall inconsistency; considerable effort from drive through release with hard follow through.
Fastball: Really took off in 2015; sits 92-93 in and across every outing; reaches 94 consistently and was as high as 96 mph during season; control problems highlighted at upper velocity band as mechanics gain additional effort; lower velo range results in above-average sinking action that helps with weak contact and missed bats; overall high potential pitch that could approach double-plus grades. Grade – Present 5+/Future 6+
Slider: Works low-80s and as high as 85 mph when he gets after it; shows occasional tight rotation and darting break; best when worked away from LHH; occasionally showed combination of velocity, tight rotation, and tilt to miss bats and compliment FB well; potential above-average pitch that works well off high-octane fastball. Grade – 4+/5+
Curveball: Soft and loopy; thrown in 72-74 mph range; improved steadily throughout 2015 season but still lacked consistency and was generally below-average; ability to generate consistent tight spin remains in question but improvements suggest an average pitch could be present; needs additional velocity, sitting in 75-77 mph range to maximize effectiveness; skeptical of average projection with need for mechanical consistency to allow consistent release and spin. Grade – 4/4+
Changeup: Least developed pitch; thrown at 79-81 consistently; velocity separation generated by slowing arm instead of trusting grip; lacks movement and generally displayed limited feel for pitch; may not have finesse necessary to refine pitch to consistently useable level. Grade – 3/4
Control/Command: Significant problem to date; effort in delivery, particularly when reaching for additional velocity, results in substantial loss of control; shows very limited ability to move pitches around zone as desired; much more thrower than pitch; has yet to display – even in spurts – enough feel for throwing strikes to project in starting role.
Other: Remains very raw; hard working kid; pickoff move is a work in progress, as is overall ability to hold runners.
Summary: Rising prospect; physicality, arm speed, and fastball velocity at a young age are extremely intriguing and worthy of praise; both breaking balls showed improvement in 2015 with SL owning more projection as a reliable offering; CB should still be quality show-me pitch that can change looks and keep hitters off balance; underdeveloped CH and lack of control currently limit project as starting pitcher.
Risk: Extreme risk; Extremely limited resume with no more than 50 innings in a season and almost nothing away from the complex leagues; significant development required to reach potential.
Projection: Four-pitch mix suggests potential starting pitching prospect; utility of third/fourth pitches and ability to locate primary offerings makes such a projection difficult; likely reliever but of the high-powered variety that misses bats and is hell on LHH; unlikely to arrive on MLB radar until 2019 season.