Prospect: Jose Soriano
Position(s): Right Handed Pitcher
Level: Rookie Ball
Age: Entering Age 19 season in 2018.
Height: 6’4” – Weight: 170 lbs
*20-80 scale. 20 is not existent, Major League average is 50. Good Major League is 60. Great Major League is 70. The best I’ve ever seen is 80. These aren’t given very often.
Floor: Middle reliever.
Ceiling: #2/3 starter in MLB.
Likely Outcome: #4/5 starter or multi-inning reliever.
Summary: Soriano is a product of the last part of the “dark times” for the Angels in terms of international presence. In the Latin American baseball scene, it’s really all about who you know, and long tenured relationships. Several years ago when scandal rocked the Angels minor leagues, owner Arte Moreno fired every scout, director, training, everybody in the Dominican Republic. The Angels are just now beginning to reestablish a presence in the Dominican Republic (their scouts in Venezuela, Panama and the Bahamas are still well placed and influential).
Soriano was part of a surprisingly deep 2015 international class, and the Angels managed to land him for just $70,000. Granted, that is a lot of money, but compared to the multi-million dollar bonuses top prospects are getting, it meant Soriano was more than just under the radar, he wasn’t even on the radar.
And it makes sense. As a 16 year old, Soriano was 6’1” and 150 lbs. His fastball sat 88-89 and his curve was loopy. But the Angels signed him because they saw a ton of projection, and in this case they ended up being quite right. As a 17 year old, Soriano was standing 6’3” and 160 lbs and his fastball sat 91-92 and a curve ball that he could get over for a strike, but no feel for a change up. Extraordinary development in just one year. Last year as an 18 year old, Jose was 6’4” and 170 lbs with a fastball that sat 93-94, a sharper breaking ball that he throws for strikes and the more consistent ability to throw a change up.
It’s this sort of development that excites scouts and begs the question, where might Soriano be at age 22……or how about age 25? He could be 40 lbs heavier, pumping high-90’s heat. Or he could be right where he is right now. Who knows? I think it’s a fair guess to say Soriano all put on another 30 lbs and gain another tick or two on that fastball of his.
Soriano’s success will ultimately dictated by him ironing out some of the rough patches in his game. Specifically, his balance, landing spot and release point are all very inconsistent at this point. And while he gets the curve over for a strike, it can still get a little loopy at times. The change up shows promise, but he’s still years away from effectively deploying it as an “out pitch.” So there definitely is development needed from Soriano.
But the early results are promising to say the least. A 1.58 ERA as a 17 year old in the Dominican Republic and a 2.92 ERA in his first year stateside.
What to expect: Soriano pitched all but one game in Arizona and he did a fantastic job. Despite the quality arsenal, he didn’t log a ton of strikeouts. In his lone appearance in Orem, Soriano’s end result was pretty solid but he couldn’t find the plate at all. I’d expect a return trip to Orem for Jose, unless he settles his delivery this year. The Pioneer League is a very unforgiving environment for prospects that either can’t find the plate or find too much of it, so it should be a great learning environment for Jose. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in Burlington this next year.
Estimated Time of Arrival: 2022, Jose’s age 23 season.